The greatest change in my life from a year ago is that I am no longer living alone. Well, I have Benny (my cat), whom I definitely have to include as a member of the household and as family. But what I am speaking of is the fact that friends were in need of housing at the end of last year, and I was in much need of home repairs and companionship.

I suffered a stroke around the time of this change, so it came at the most incredible time for all of us. I would not have gone to the hospital and found out about the stroke without my friends looking out for me. This phenomenon of cohabitating is noticeably becoming more commonplace due to financial and other circumstances many people are finding themselves in. In our case, it was literally the difference between homelessness, and my home disintegrating further into disrepair, or working to pool our collective resources as an attempt to improve conditions for all of us.

Interdependence seems to work that way; when we pool together our resources because we can do more as a community than what we can do alone, we have a greater chance of thriving. Benny now has feline friends at home as well. So we all get the chance to continue to be warm, dry, and safe. I won’t kid you; it’s not all rosy. It takes work in the form of mutual housekeeping, learning to communicate between various personality differences, and giving each other space and grace. At the end of the day, interdependence only works when everyone is working toward that clear communication and grace. It’s not perfect, however it is vital to surviving and thriving.   

~Jen Garrison

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3 Responses to Cohabiting

  1. Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones says:

    Wow, what a beautiful reminder of both the work and the grace that come with sharing space–a home, a church, an office–with other human beings, and how strong that web we weave needs to be to hold us through the ups and downs! Thanks, Jen!

  2. katrina P yurko says:

    I’m so very glad for you Jen. Sounds like you have a decent working relationship with your housemates. Both the host and the guests acknowledge the arrangement so no one person bears a burden that can be shared!

  3. Lydia M Patrick says:

    So glad that this is working out for you!

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