I have a dream
by Andrea Elizabeth
For the past week I’ve been obsessed by an idea. The possibility of neighboring acreage with a newly built house coming up for sale and what I would do with it has lit me up. Before this, I’ve had my eye on the highest hill around, 6 miles from my house, as being the perfect spot for a traditional Orthodox Church out here, a light shining in the wilderness of ranch-land to the south and Victorian houses to the north. I’ve lived among both, but have been too poor to own either. Now I live among the ranches, one of which through the grapevine I’ve heard is coming up for sale. My current idea is not as traditional as my other one.
It’s actually not my idea. A few years ago a family who used to go to my Church moved back to east Texas where they came from. They would like to purchase some acreage out there, and have a few families live on it and jointly grow their own food. My idea is similar, but a little different. I would like to start a semi-monastic community where people of various backgrounds, but who have monastic leanings, live together either in a multi-dwelling structure to conserve the land for farming, or possibly individual cells. They keep their own finances, cars, and jobs however. Everyone shares the mortgage payment and helps with the garden and the cow. I like the idea of growing towards self-sustainment and being off the grid, but that would not be the main goal. The main purpose is to hopefully have twice daily readers services together in a cool little chapel, possibly like the one above. If everyone lived together, I think they would be more likely to walk together every day to the beautiful little wooden structure and participate. We would still go to our main parish for the less often offered services however. Maybe someday when that Church is more equipped, they could afford to have us get our own priest out here, and then maybe build that traditional Church I mentioned above. Meanwhile I would like for a monastic type person to be able to find a compatible lifestyle, but that strictness would not be required of everyone. There would be some rules however mainly regarding purity and sharing of duties. I’m not sure if married couples or families would live on the property or be encouraged to live in a house close-by like we do. I love the idea of being able to walk to the chapel to pray everyday and help with the grounds, animals, chapel, finances, etc. Other more distant people could commute to the services if they wanted to. There are many people who live in isolating circumstances whom I think would be greatly helped in this type of situation if it were done right.