I love my neighborhood. I have some of the best neighbors in the world. A few days ago I had the opportunity to have great conversations with three of them before 9am! All were meaningful interactions: One was a phone call, one was an exchange of text messages, and one was the old-fashioned, face-to-face, type of meeting.
I wish I could say all of these expressions of Beloved Community were because I’m such a conscientious caring person who intentionally reaches out to my neighbors. Nope! It’s because I’m a needy person looking for a car to borrow.
Now, to be clear, all of these neighbors had offered their car if we ever needed it. Secondly I do talk to them frequently and they know my friendship IS sincere. BUT the truth is had I not needed a car that day we would not have talked that morning.
This got me thinking, does self-sufficiency short-circuit community building? I found a car to drive, I made plans for breakfast with another neighbor, and I heard about family vacation plans another friend has in the works. But had I not needed a car, I would have left my house and gone about my business without connecting with these amazing people that live around me.
Janeen, Tyler, Morgan and I made a conscious decision to do without an additional car. We can bike and bus more, and many friend have offered a car to borrow whenever their ride is available. Not having something at your personal disposal forces us into conversation and interaction. We must plan, discuss, call and sometimes slow down.
To be inter-dependent requires communication, and sometimes our “needs’ force us to be more considerate, and even kinder. But it is not easy. We have to admit out need and our dependancy. This is embarrassing and soooo “un-American”
Dependancy, need, and humility… these seem to be values of a different kind of community.