Today’s guest post comes to us courtesy of a friend from my Texas days, though she no longer lives in that great state either. Jessi is a gifted teacher, singer, and mom who writes here about discovering community in an unlikely place. Enjoy!
When I think of the word community I usually think of groups of people with something in common: church groups, neighbors, school groups, interest groups, and the like. This fall I had a unique experience that expanded my vision of community.
Our church had a day of various local mission opportunities. Seventy-one of us gathered and then dispersed to prepare food, clear yard debris, organize food pantries, and so on. My group drove across the state line to East Saint Louis to help at the Christian Activity Center, a holistically-minded organization for local kids and their families.
We began with some physical tasks such as cleaning the kitchen, sweeping floors, pulling weeds, and painting a shed. It didn’t take long for curious children to come around and then for word to spread of the free lunch we would later provide. Eventually I found myself in a plastic playhouse eating “apple pie” and “macaroni” made for me by a four-year old girl. Boys were crawling all over the house and catapulting off, asking why we were eating dirt, and looking at us like we were crazy. When I explained it was actually apple pie, the boys started digging in too, and eventually we added a banker, a working dad, and several siblings to our play world.
After eating a real lunch with more people from the neighborhood, some older girls began braiding my hair. As I sat there and enjoyed the makeshift beauty salon I realized something. We did not live in the same neighborhood, we did not worship together in a church service, we did not have the same color skin or even share an age bracket.
But in the simple giving and receiving of time and playfulness we were experiencing community on that playground.
How have you experienced community (or not experienced community) recently? Want to write about it? I’m on the lookout for guest bloggers each week to share their stories. It can be as short as a few sentences, or as long as you want… okay, maybe not. But I’d love to hear your story. Check out Guest Posts for more information.