Last night we had some people from the local YMCA come and interview my family about life balance, health, and well-being. It was a fun time, and the kids got to answer questions as well as the adults!
The one question that stumped me at first was one about how we interact with our community. I know my husband and I tend to like being hermits, but we force ourselves into social situations because we know it’s good for us, and at times we need that for our lives. Even so, we are not real involved in our “community” as you would see it relating to our local town, and I was afraid that I would not be able to answer this question at all and look like a complete home-body. 🙂
But then my husband looked at me and said, in essence, “what about the block parties?”
You see, my heart sister across the street and I do a lot of crazy things together. Last year we started to have “block parties” where anyone and everyone is invited to come, eat, and hang out. The food isn’t fancy; usually it’s just hot dogs, watermelon, maybe some salad, and whatever else we can put together for that night. We started doing it because we know times are tough for a lot of people, and in reality, a hot dog doesn’t cost a lot of money. We don’t preach Jesus to these people as they come. We simply meet one of their basic needs- food, and give them good companionship to boot.
Each time we’ve had a block party we’ve had over 20 people show up. We stop people as they walk by our street and invite them in. We’ve fed the police as they’ve driven by, window salespeople (who actually stopped and sat for a while!), teenagers walking down the street, and even homeless people, to name just a few. Anyone who walks down our street will likely get at least a hot dog, and more if we have it.
The way we figure it….we’ve all got to stick together. In tough times, you can’t just shut your door and pretend the world doesn’t exist. The only way we are going to get through this, is by helping each other.
I realized that “community” doesn’t have to mean a town, or a church, or anything else like that.
Your “community” is the people you are surrounded by and interact with multiple times each week or each day. It can be 2 people or it can be 20,000. Your community can include the checker at the grocery store, your neighbors, or just your friends.
What is it that Jesus said? That they will know we are Christians by our love?
On our street, our love means we feed people. We go visit them in the hospital when they are dying. We comfort the family. We talk with one another and build each other up. We help with yard work, moving, car stuff, or anything else they might need. Oftentimes we simply sit on the side of the street on a sunny afternoon and watch the kids play. Pretty soon, neighbors will come and say hi, and maybe even sit for a spell. In short, we make ourselves available.
Some of our neighbors, we never saw before last year. They stayed in their houses, content to live their life alone.
Then we started to reach out to our community, and now people come to be fed.
We feed their stomachs, and then we can feed their heart and soul. We love them for who they are, and don’t expect anything else.
So I guess the challenge for today is this: What is your community, and how can you impact the people in that group? It doesn’t take much. For us, it started with a hot dog. Maybe for you it will be a candy bar, or a ride to work, or simply a smile and a sincere “how are you?”
As a community, we need to be available to help each other out.
Times are tough, and sometimes all we have……is each other.