HOUSE NEWS: Running on empty

Hi folks,

For this week’s schedule, click here.

June is typically a time of “endings” for us at the GCW. When we moved into the Blue House five years ago, we decided that it would be important for us to take about a 6-week break each summer. Some of it is practical–like it is really hot during the summer and not having to run the AC all summer would be a big cost-saver for us. But the “summer sabbatical” also comes from the knowledge that life at the Blue House means being on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; that the pace of the work and sometimes the intensity of our lives and the lives of those who visit us each day can grow to be overwhelming, even exhausting; and that if you want to last at this, if you want to live this life over the long haul with integrity and with openness, then you need to practice what our biblical ancestors called “sabbath.” So each June, around about the middle of the month, until the first week of August, we take what we call a “summer sabbatical.” It is supposed to be a time for us to get away from the house and get some rest (if we can), to let the house “lie fallow” (all our projects stop), and to cultivate those things which will rejuvenate us, re-invigorate us spiritually and physically, and bring us back to this work rested, whole, vital and excited.

But I am getting ahead of myself a little. Our summer sabbatical doesn’t begin until June 20, so we’ve got a full two weeks and then some of activity. But we’ve started to feel a little bit of that “winding down” that precedes our summer sabbatical this past week.

These past several months have been some of the fullest, in terms of capacity, that we’ve experienced at the house. We’ve had 11 of us living here regularly for some time, with other overnight and multi-night guests throughout joining us as well.  But we’re starting to empty out. Leroy, who has been a regular member of the community since we first opened the Blue House, left yesterday after staying with us for almost a month following his stabbing as he recovered. Mohamed, another regular member of the community for the past four years, moved into his own apartment after about five months with us. Luis, ever-present volunteer, who had been staying with us since March, also left this past weekend. And finally, Kendera (and Moraa), after being part of our live-in community for the past 2-plus years, also moved in with her good friend Rose. All will still be in the area and involved with the house, so for that we are grateful. We’re most grateful though that, for each of them, they were able to find what they needed while living at the house and they leave us blessed with achieving some of what they were searching for when they joined us.

In many ways, this is the nature of our communal life. It is a series of comings and goings, beginnings and endings. Each person who has passed through our home changes us, enriches us and becomes part of who we are forever. And we look forward to new gifts and experiences, which new guests and new community members will bring when we start back up in August.

For now, Patrick, Kimberly, Kelli, I and the kids, will finish up the next weeks, close the doors June 20, and then we’ll reflect, rest and rejuvenate. And then we’ll start it all over again in August…

BIKES FOR THE HOMELESS: Several longtime supporters of the GCW have purchased/collected dozens of bicycles which they are refurbishing for us to give out to homeless folks and other guests of the GCW. The generous folks at The Kickstand, 722 S. Main Street, between Gainesville Rock Gym and Discount Hi-Fi, are helping with parts and labor, but we need more folks to show up and help fix the bikes up. Whether you have skills or not, we can put you to work. So come out to The Kickstand anytime between 9am and 1pm on Sunday, June 7th to help with the bikes!

AND THEN THERE WERE 3: Get your Cafe-fix before we’re closed for the summer! A delicious meal of homemade soup and bread awaits you. Prep begins at 9:30am, serving at 12pm, and clean-up at 4:30pm. Donations of butter, fruit, salt, flour, soup fixings, etc. are always appreciated. Just 3 more cafes til we close for summer. Ditto for Breakfast Brigade on Friday!

MASS AT THE GCW: We’ll be celebrating Mass with Fr. John Phillips, our chaplain and the pastor of Holy Faith Catholic Church. This will be our last Mass before we close up this summer, so join us in giving thanks for this past year.

EXTRA DVD PLAYER OUT THERE? Lastly, if anyone out there has a used DVD player lying around which they are not using, ours broke a couple of weeks ago. We frequently show movies at the house on special nights or for guests and community members and we would make good use of it if you don’t need it anymore. Thanks!

LOCAL GOAT CHEESE: We’ve been enjoying delicious goat cheese at the house over the last few months supplied by a local dairy that’s getting started – garlic-chive, mild jalapeno, honey-nut, pesto… just delicious. We love supporting an up- and-coming local food producer, and we love the cheese (which can be frozen). It’s $5/half pound. Let us know if you’re interested and we’ll hook you up.

Thanks again to everyone who has been helping out these past few weeks!

In peace,



Posted on 06/02/2009, in HOUSE NEWS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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