Over time the meaning of community has changed and shifted for me in many different ways. Growing up I always thought of my family and friends as community, but it’s more than that. I always thought of the people that I formed meaningful relationships with. Community is more than just the people you choose to be around you. They are the people we try to love, support and forgive . They are the people that are there because of your current setting and situation. Community always starts with one common thread. There is something that draws y’all together.
In my case it’s the intentional community I decided to join.
This past year for me was learning to live with others in an intentional way. It wasn’t about me, but my community. We had to come together, at all times, even when we didn’t want to. Whether that be talking about our next meal, cleaning the dishes, cleaning the house, planning our next outing and even talking through our disagreements.
It wasn’t easy, but worth it. We challenged each other to be better people. We challenged each other to serve. We challenged each other to understand each other’s realities and upbringings. A community are people that want to see you grow. A community are people that challenge you. A community are people that are honest with you. A community are people that you learn to love.”
~ Alex Pagán-Mejía
“Jordan here. For me, community is more of a verb than a noun. You can have a community, but being a community is something very distinct. It means engaging when it’d be easier to just be passive. It means staying to figure things out when it’d be easier to just walk away. It means loving and forgiving even when everything inside of you tells you to do otherwise.
Community is a daily decision. When I woke up each morning, I would ask myself, “Will I give my everything for my housemates? Will I choose to walk with them through their daily lives? Will I continue committing to community?” The answer to this question was always YES. Some days that YES came out with a squeak, and some days it came out with a boom.
Much of my frustration at the beginning of my year with EUIP stemmed from the huge difference between the intimacy I’d thought my housemates and I would establish and the intimacy we actually established. Throughout the year, though, I gradually learned that it mattered much less whether I was best friends with all my housemates and much more whether I continued to “show up” for my housemates. By this, I mean that as long as I continued to engage, to pursue a deeper understanding of who my housemates are, and to put forth all my effort into simply being present with my housemates, I would be successfully living into my commitment to community.
A simple checklist or an attitude of “being a community” is one thing. Living it out as a verb, however, is what makes community a reality.”
~ Jordan Castillo
Voices of Service
These are reflections from corps members and alumni of Jubilee Year and the Episcopal Urban Intern Program. They cover topics ranging from the sun, fun and friends in in Los Angeles to the uncensored experiences of serving vulnerable populations in our beautiful city. These are Voices of Service. For more, go through our archives below