Every Sunday night, the YAV house gathers in our living room with our site coordinator, Blair, for dinner and devotions. This week, while the Netflix “fireplace for your home” burned and crackled on the tv, Blair asked us to go around in a circle and name one thing we felt grateful for. The common thread among all the things we were grateful for was people: people at our site placements, people in our families, and each other.

Sometimes we drive each other crazy. We each have our own quirky “-isms” that get on each others nerves, especially the past few weeks as we’ve been running from work to our fall retreat to a Presbytery meeting to IAF community organizing training in Baltimore. We get snappy about traveling directions and doing the dishes. Sometimes it’s hard to remember to snap out of your own head to check on how your roommates are doing. But we’ve started to talk with each other more openly about how we want to approach conflict or support someone who’s having a rough time, which helps us be a better community.

Coming back to this house on Gales Street — especially now that it’s decorated for Christmas and we have candles that make the house smell like pine trees and spices — is starting to feel like home. Someone is usually cooking or watching something on the tv, and on Thanksgiving we sat at the kitchen table chatting and laughing while we took turns using the oven. We watched Beyonce Homecoming and danced in the kitchen while our store-bought rotisserie chicken warmed up. We we did pretty well for ourselves, eating mac n cheese and potatoes and cranberry crumble until we were stuffed and sleepy. We left our dishes on the table to clean up together later. Community life is messy sometimes, and it’s not always as great as Thanksgiving Day was, but I can’t imagine doing this year with anyone else.

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