I joined the Johnson Internship Program (as it was called in the beginning) almost 20 years ago. I had been raised in the church and was active in a campus ministry at my college, but living with two other women during the program was my first experience with Christian community out in the world. We lived in a home we called “The Pink House.” At the Pink House the sacred and mundane were mixed together. We prayed together and we laughed together. We cooked for friends and we worshipped at The Chapel of the Cross. We did chores and we left the house daily to serve in the community. My work was teaching reading at the Orange County Literacy Council.
This mix of the sacred and the mundane is still with me. Now I live in a white house with a red door. My “housemates” are my husband, my three sons, and my daughter. We do many of the things I practiced during my intern year. We pray and play games. We cook (mostly me!) and we worship at a church similar to The Chapel of the Cross. Everyone has chores to do as well! Now that my children are all in school, they go into the world to learn. I continue as a teacher and stay connected to the local Literacy Council through active service or support.
This pattern of life was captured for me in a book I recently read, Long Days of Small Things by Catherine McNeil. In it, McNeil writes, “the sacred does not float ethereally beyond the reach of mortals. The sacred has mingled inseparably with the mundane.” That was the experience of my year in the program. It is a rhythm of life that has stuck.