When we come together as neighbors and citizens, there is always enough.
This is the premise of Abundant Community and asset based community development. I can’t say enough about it. In fact, many of these principles are at work in our beloved nonprofit, Turning Point, where we hope to bring people together so that everyone benefits and the community flourishes. As we began our summer educational day camp yesterday, it was already evident. Tutors. Kids. Families. Of many different cultures, languages and backgrounds. And yet as they prepared to load the bus for their first adventure to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, I was confident that there would be rich conversation and valuable cross-cultural learning, as they look at how they might contribute to make the world a better place. [Sidebar: You can also participate in making the world a better place and send a kid to camp.] But even beyond the ideological and sociological ramifications of why investing in your local community makes sense and what I believe is quite a compelling case being made for the return to the local. Besides all of this...
I have to say that neighboring is just simply “freakin’ awesome”.
[This was a phrase co-opted by this year’s Leadership in the New Parish cohort in jest, but it seems to work just fine here.]
I love knowing my neighbors. I love that when my neighbor’s sister passed away recently, the other neighbors on the block rallied around her family. I love that we got to offer a room to her mother from out of town. What an honor it was to be invited into that sacred space. I love that neighbors helped go through her sister’s house, clean and help move belongings. In the midst of incomprehensible grief and sorrow. What a gift.
I love knowing my neighbors. I love that my amazingly spunky and strong neighbor, now in her late eighties, still thought it was a good idea to get up on her roof and clean the gutters. I did not love when she tragically fell off her ladder and bruised her ribs, but it was surely providential when the neighbor next door heard the crash and came running. I love that as neighbors we called and texted each other, coordinating visits to the hospital and nursing home until she returned home. I love it even more that the neighbor that had come running also confiscated her ladder and told her if she needed it, she knew where to find him.
I love knowing my neighbors. I love that we have holiday celebrations, summer barbecues and Seahawks parties. I love that our family was invited to Samish Island this year to celebrate the Fourth of July along with several of our neighbors who have done this for years on end as their kids have grown up together. We were so blessed to be invited to a wonderful day of stunning views, beach fun, friendship, fireworks, paddle boarding, and grilled oysters over the fire. What extravagance!
It enriches our lives. It creates a built-in fabric of care. And it offers us resources that we wouldn’t have otherwise.
For one neighbor, a hotel wasn’t needed. For another, outside help was not required and the family could breathe easier knowing that neighbors were close if she needed anything. And in our own family's story, we were welcomed generously into an experience far outside of our own resources and relational investment. This is the beauty of community. This is the gift of knowing our neighbors. We become rich in every way. And it is truly “freakin’ awesome”!
by Jessica Ketola