I hate to disillusion anyone out there, but there is a bit of truth when it comes to religious life: not everyone gets along. I've seen nuns yell at nuns, priests go at each other like a boxing match, and brothers within community say some of the most hateful things to each other.
No wonder there's a reality show about living in religious life; sometimes my life is like Big Brother...just without the sex and no one gets kicked out if we don't win the challenge.
The reality here is that I live with 12 other personalities. While we are brought together under our common charism of living our lives as St. Francis did in imitation of Christ, sometimes we also find creative ways to piss each other off. It could be as stupid as whether or not pancake syrup should go in the cupboard or the fridge (like it even matters), or as big as finding each others hot buttons, and randomly pushing them to see what happens.
Sometimes I prefer hiding in my room, lost in my books and the occasional game of FIFA soccer on my computer. After experiencing much of my life on my own, there are some aspects of community life that just grate on my nerves. But rather than start an issue, I realize it is something I must deal with, and in those instances I choose to just blow off steam.
For others, it's harder to change their ways...and I am concerned for their future here. Living in community is a wonderful idea, especially when drawn to live the life of a Franciscan friar, but the reality is that you must do away with much of your old lifestyle. No more eating when you want, no more slacking off on your chores (or one main chore that you have for the house), there are differences of opinion, differences of politics, differences of theology...and all live with you. The joy is to find a way to make that work for you. The pain is finding out it doesn't work at all.
Most recently, I've seen some of my brothers get into it over simple kitchen things. Clashes of personality happen, and while some are quick to settle anything down, I rather prefer to let people have it out. Communication is the key in any relationship, and if the only way to communicate your needs is shouting at one another...well at least it's a start!
I may facilitate some kind of dialogue with the guys, some free area where we're allowed to voice our concerns, pet peeves, annoyances, and things that just make us furious.
Or maybe a cage match for us to go at it...I could always sell tickets and make extra money for the Order.
Lord, help me from throttling my fellow brothers!