In the past two months I have attended two intentional acts of neighbourliness. One was a softball game and the other a picnic. I wish I could say that the crowds were overwhelming and that these opportunities were well received and embraced by the community. In all honesty, they were not. Fewer folks than expected came out to these, which can be slightly disappointing.
The funny thing is, the people who did come out had a really, really good time. They, admittedly, didn't know what to expect or if they would like it, but all feedback was positive. At softball we all were reminded of the simple joy of self-organizing and having a fun game, of trying something new and of reliving schoolyard recess when our softball game turned into kickball.
At the picnic we braved the chilly fall morning, fog included, and felt the joy of sharing, sharing stories, homemade treats and laughter. We surprised people out for a walk by offering them some of our homemade treats. I'd like to think our kindness made a positive impact on the rest of their day, that they went home happier, spoke kinder to the next stranger they saw and found themselves smiling for the majority of the day.
So if when we gather as a community and share in an experience, we enjoy ourselves, learn about others and come away feeling refuelled - why then do more people not attend? I started to do some research on this, why do people stay home? Why don't people want to meet their community? I didn't find an answer, just so you know. What I did find were a whole bundle of ways to meet people. The top generated results to my research were either meet friend websites or tips for how to meet people. Clearly there is a want a desire. Clearly people are looking and wanting to connect. Clearly.
The intentional acts of neighbourliness may have been lofty and ambitious, but clearly, there exists in most of us, a desire to be just that, neighbours. And so, in concluding my thoughts, I leave you with the belief that one day community will be so much more, so much deeper. And with one of my favourite verses - whether you read this as a believer or not - I do believe it to be applicable either way.