You know how much I love the Homestead Heritage community just north of Waco. This faith-based agrarian society practices and teaches the kinds of sustainable, "old fashioned" skills that keep a group of people connected physically, geographically, emotionally and spiritually--things like woodworking, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, horse farming, beekeeping, cheese and soap making, and more. I have a couple of pals who love this place too, and who join me in dipping our toes into the pool of Doing Life Together every chance we get.
|Laurie and Lisa|
Laurie drove down with me and we met up with our friend Lisa from Lubbock. Lisa was there at Homestead Heritage taking some weaving classes, and when she's this close to our neck of the woods, we just have to get together. Laurie and I brought some knitting and spinning, and made ourselves at home off to the side while Lisa finished up the table runner she had started on her rigid heddle loom.
The folks in the class showed off their work, and made us feel totally at home, because, well, that's what you do in community. Especially when you have so much in common.
Some folks come to take classes here because the old-time crafts are fun, novel, cool, and intrinsically satisfying. Do they understand the deep river of life running through the hearts of the people they meet here? I'm sure some do.
Lisa does. She has brought this community into her heart, and they have welcomed her into theirs. The fiber is the common thread, so to speak, but it's just a link. It's not the core. We all have the wool and cotton and linen in common, but the real connection is much more fundamental than that.
|Table Runner on the Loom|
We're woven together by the understanding of the value of each individual, and the value of the community as a whole--by the dignity we receive by having meaningful work to do--by the grounding we get from stewarding the earth--by the responsibility we share in passing all this on to the next generation--by honoring our Creator, who engineered this need for community into our very DNA.
|Ten Year Old Hadassah Warps Her Loom|
This life in community laughs at the idea that satisfaction can be bought or sold, traded or consumed. This kind of profound satisfaction can only be achieved when you know who you are in the context of community, and your specific role. There is no one just like you, and no one can ever take your place. You are loved and needed, and your community is less if you're not there.
|I Spun Some Jacob Wool|
This community of Homestead Heritage reinforces the message everywhere you look - from the hand crafted everything, to the meticulously tidy grounds, simple and modest dress, quick smiles, open hearts, helping hands, and guileless eyes of its citizens. These folks know who they are.
|Warped for Wedding Dress Material - 40 EPI|
People in our culture have a terrible time remembering what's real, and who they are. We've separated ourselves from each other, from the world we live in, and especially from the idea that we did not make ourselves. We ricochet around our days, grasping at significance, only to have it vanish into thin air when we try to catch it in a jar. I bet you know people who are so lost and discouraged that they seem like mere shell people. Where are your hollow spaces?
Every time I set foot on the property at Homestead Heritage, I am renewed in my mission for Jacob's Reward Farm. We have a very similar calling, if you will, as an intentional community. We don't have the luxury of having all our community members actually live together, but we come together as often as we can, and we spend time recognizing each individual's gifts and needs.
We're downright evangelical in bringing our friends to be part of the farm family, because we've all learned first-hand how much we are warmed and healed when we let our new friends take up more and more real estate in our hearts.
No community is perfect - it's made up of people who have flaws. But the nature of community strengthens the places of weakness, and galvanizes the areas of strength. We're buckets more than the sum of our parts. I'm not the same person who brought her first sheep onto the place back in 2007. The farm has forced me to re-imagine what I thought about how life works. I'm learning how much I need my family and friends, and that my friends need me--that I cannot do anything of lasting value alone. I'm learning that my heart can stretch to include lots and lots of new friends.
There's room for you here, too. Please come...