Sunday, June 20, 2010

On Community

When we moved away from our rental a year ago into our new neighborhood we had no idea what to expect here in regards to a community. We had lived in the previous town for 6 years and so much had happened during that time! We had initially moved there to be close to the university for Ron, and we had also joined a faith community. Our church was right down the street, as was the college, Sarah's school, dance studio, and Ron's later place of employment. Our gas bills were very low back then! We ended up becoming close friends with some of our neighbors which was amazing and such a blessing at the time! We would share food, have barbecues together, hang out and watch movies, take walks together, (I miss those walks Allison!), laugh together and cry together. Two of our neighbors were studying to be nurses so we would get free health checks off and on, and advice when we got injured, (I fractured my tail bone, ouch!) It was a community utopia for a time and I couldn't imagine not having that support and love. In fact, I feared losing it...

Well, all good things must come to an end and when it ended it was over, there was nothing left there for us, and we were more than ready to move on. We moved to the next town over not knowing anyone close by really and wondered how God would knit us into this community. We knew some people a few blocks away, but not well, and at first it felt pretty isolating here. As the months wore on we were amazed to see how we found families and made friends in the area; it was uncanny. We've gotten to know the family we knew who lived a few blocks down. They are awesome people, so full of faith and love. They have a boy and girl just like us and I pass down Justin's clothes to their little guy and we switch off babysitting for date nights. Ron knows a co-worker who lives a few blocks further as well. He and Ron both love to garden and we share our veggies with them and they give us home pressed apple juice and awesome gifts for our garden. We have dinner with them off and on and their cooking is so delicious! I met another family through a friend who lives a few blocks away as well. They are on the same spiritual journey I'm on and "get" where I'm at. I'm so blessed to have found them! So a mere year later, and we have three families we're friends with who live just a few blocks away in our little community!

The other day we had a dinner that was mostly from our garden: Potatoes and herbs, a fresh salad with carrots and peas, and spaghetti flavored with herbs from our herb garden. After dinner we went out and picked some lettuce, spinach, carrots and potatoes, loaded them into bags and went on a walk through our neighborhood dropping off our garden bounty and veggie starts to our friends a few blocks away. It was the most wonderful evening! Our hearts felt full and we were loving our community.

That night has gotten me thinking a lot about the meaning of community. I always thought that community was a place you had to set up - a place that had to be painstakingly planned in every way. The element of fear was always there - what if someone moves away?, what if God takes us away from our support system?, etc. What I'm realizing is that God is fully capable of setting up community anywhere! It's a no brainer for Him. We're the ones who add in the complications and strings to the whole situation making things much more complicated and messy.

I look around us now at the community we're blessed with and I'm in total awe. Community has come to us in such an incredible way and now we get to nurture it and see it grow in beautiful ways. I feel so lucky - SO blessed! I cherish our neighbors more than ever because I feel they're a gift God has given me. I don't feel like I deserve it, but the universe has smiled on us and we're blessed.

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