I contemplated living alone for a while. I thought: “I need a place to study, a place to bake and not be in anyone’s way, a place to have my HS girls and not worry about inconveniencing, a place to sleep amidst my odd schedule, a place to be away, to be alone, to just be.”
Well, I couldn’t afford a place on my own.
So instead, I got a super loud, super intense roommate.
E calls her Sassy Stacey. It’s a perfect description. From facial expressions to the snarky way she swivels on her heel, from her teasing manner to the bite in her green chile (yum!) my roommate is a sassy little woman. She’s absolutely fabulous. She’s loud and crazy, her life is too busy and she leaves me love notes all the time–on the table, on my bed, and the ladder to my loft. She loves well, she is strong but wounded as is every human being you’ll ever meet. She’s beautiful and I love her to pieces.
Tonight, after a long day of data entry at work and a noisy night at the food pantry, I came home to her, sitting on the futon under two flannel blankets, knitting a purple scarf. I made myself tea and then sat down beside her to listen to her story of the day. It’s a familiar tale; much like my own. Customers are annoying, inconsiderate, and demanding. Her coworker was slow or too chatty, they ran out of something, the drawer didn’t balance, etcetera, et al. But she didn’t tell me about her day. Instead, she started crying and told me what she’s struggling with these days. I held her hand, sipped my tea and listened.At some point in the evening, she apologized for crying but I shook my head. No, I said, I like it when you cry. It reminds me that I’m not too busy to listen. And it reminds me that I have feelings too.”
“Of course you have feelings!” she practically exclaimed, “you cry over homeless people and old men.”
I laughed and then found tears in my own eyes. I didn’t say outloud as she prattled on with more stress and fears but I did think to myself that this is why I live with a roommate. Yes, money was an issue when I looked for a new place. Yes, I don’t like being a single woman by myself at night with all the odd people living in our world. But mostly, I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted someone to live with me, to challenge me, to frustrate me, to love me and to encourage me. Someone I could build into and serve and forgive when days were hard. I wanted to live with someone because I wanted to be reminded of my humanity and my constant need for community.
Maybe it’s just me but, I think that might be why the body of Christ is so important for believers: to remind us of our fallenness and our absolute dependence on God and one another. More than that, though, the body reminds us of the imago dei and the ways in which we shine like stars in the universe as we grow up together into maturity in the faith. We remind each other of what our humanity is, what it should be and what it will be as we slowly grow into who we are and who we are called to be.
I love my roommate.