On 20 March, when we heard the first word of Thailand closing down for Covid quarantines, I hated the idea of stopping everything we were in the middle of.
We had plans for the summer months here: English classes and Bible classes, extra training for The Reinforcers that were just taking off, youth nights and movie nights, a Bible study leading up to Easter. We would still continue Flour & Flowers and sewing and guitar lessons. Oak was loving school and thriving; learning three languages and making friends across so many cultures.
And then it all stopped. So suddenly.
I felt disappointment, like so many other people around the world. The fear, the unknowns, the questions. We all felt it.
And then I felt some thing else, but I’m not sure every one else did or not…
I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back. And even more, I wasn’t sure I could.
There are parts of me that have wanted to get out of this community nearly since we got into it. So many days I love it, and so many days I want to run in the other direction. So many days I think we might be making it, and other days I know I’m so far in over my head.
But, whether for personality or situation or Jesus, we just kept going. We knew it was right, so we moved forward. We knew we could do today, so we did it.
There was enough good that we hoped.
But we’ve never stopped quite like this before. We’ve never had the community pulled out from under us and found ourselves all alone in our house.
I’ll admit I loved having the kitchen to myself. I loved that I knew exactly where everything was every time I went in there. I loved that I knew it was my fault if the ants got into this or that.
That was the first thing I noticed: I wasn’t sure I wanted to share my kitchen again.
But I also loved that I didn’t have to be showered and dressed by nine every day. I loved that we had all our evenings together, just us. No English lessons or guitar lessons or anything. Just us.
I sort of loved speaking English all the time. It’s so much easier. I just studied my language every day, learning a few new vocabulary words, and then it was back to easy-peasy English.
I loved spending so much time with my son. I didn’t worry about who he was attaching to or if I was giving him enough of my attention. He most definitely was getting enough attention all day every day. I didn’t worry about his exposure to drunkenness or profanities I don’t even know or toy guns. No one tried to show him a phone of something I wasn’t sure what it was; or tried to feed him yet another snack.
I loved the time I got with my husband, not struggling to stay on top of our to-do lists or what had to be done by tomorrow; not jealous for his time with teenagers and projects. I loved the time we spent on bicycles and walking; the long conversations. I loved how many times we made breakfast together in the kitchen that now had space for both of us.
In short, it was just easier.
Community living is hard. Opening your front door is hard.
And a part of me just wanted to keep it closed or moved away or just…choose easier.
I’m not even sure that would be bad. I think more importantly, it’s caused me to ask all the questions.
Maybe just because it’s easier doesn’t mean it’s really what I want.
I want to be a person who shares, whether it’s food or money or kitchen space or control or life or time.
I want to be a person that is sometimes uncomfortable for the sake of someone else being more comfortable. I want to value connection enough to work for it, study for it, and perhaps literally groan for it as I struggle to recall the word on the tip of my tongue.
I want to be a person that lets my child experience life, and I just want to experience it right along with him. It’s okay if that pushes us to talk about both drunkenness and asking before eating snacks at age three.
I want to be a person who shares my husband because he can contribute so much to so many. I also want to be someone who cherishes the time with him, even if that is in muddy mess of doing life together.
So in some ways, we’re going back to complicated next week. We’re opening up our doors again. There will be more languages and more chaos and more drama and more mess.
I’m just hoping I’m up for the challenge.
I’m just hoping there is enough good to keep hoping.