Related Post: The Reason We All Need Community
Hardship and pain cannot be avoided.
But we do not have to endure them alone.
We must be intentional now about forging community. Because when the trials of life arrive—and they will—we will need to lean on the strength and patience and peace and hope of the people we cherish.
In our age of social media, community is a term with a quickly expanding definition: our communities are increasingly composed of people from all over the globe. And this is a beautiful thing. Yet we are physical creatures in material bodies, and thus we also require a community of people we can see and touch and smell. And the closer the better, because when trouble comes calling, we need to know help is on the way. And the sooner the better.
Building community in the places we live will require work and dedication. But it can happen. And it can begin with an idea. Or ten.
- Have a yard sale, but only “sell” hospitality. Earlier this summer, we had a yard sale. In one day, we talked to more neighbors than we typically talk to in an entire summer. But why do we have to sell stuff in order to put out chairs in the front yard and socialize for a Saturday? We should do this several times every summer.
- Play catch with the kids. In the front yard. Most new construction is designed to emphasize family gatherings in the back yard, which prevents the formation of relationships within a neighborhood. Move your family time to the front yard, and watch your neighborhood connections grow.
- Borrow with impunity. Ask neighbors to borrow eggs and sugar and gardening tools and yard machines. Ask different neighbors until you find several neighbors who seem genuinely excited to share with you and to know you better. Offer to reciprocate.
- Pick a church based on proximity. Churches are still the most reliable communities we have, but we undermine their communal value by shopping for a certain product and then driving many miles to consume it. Instead, find a church you can walk to, and spend Sundays with your neighbors.
- Serve. One reader pointed out that serving together forms strong bonds. Find service opportunities in your area. Invite a friend along. Another reader noted that life presents us with many opportunities to serve right in our own neighborhood. Take advantage of them.
- Trade square footage for location. Yep, I’m suggesting you might actually want to think about moving. If you can’t develop community in your current neighborhood, do whatever you can to get into a neighborhood where you will have community. Instead of defining the “best” neighborhood by property value, define it by how many of your best friends live nearby. Just be sure to check with them first!
- Make a list. Of five people within ten miles who you would like to know better. Call every one of them and ask them to get together. If you form a lasting relationship with one, you have created community.
- Use the internet in order to quit using the internet. Go to meetup.com. Find a group of people in your area with similar interests, and then take the plunge and go to their next scheduled meeting.
- Post a community request on Facebook. Put up a “classified ad” on Facebook. Something like, “Inviting a friend to have coffee one time per week, at the same time every week, for the indefinite future.” You might be surprised how many “buyers” you end up with.
- Believe. In yourself. Believe you are worthy of community and closeness. Believe in the goodness of others. And have faith that, as you embrace the idea of community, you will be received in a loving embrace.
Comments? Have you discovered other methods for building community near your home? We need your creative ideas! Please feel free to share in the comments.
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Tuesday Tip Disclaimer: The Tuesday Tip is not professional advice. It should be read as you would read a “self-help” book. For professional and customized advice, you should seek the services of a counselor, who can become more intimately familiar with your specific situation. Counselors can be located through your insurance network or through your state psychological association website.
Photo Credit: Photo taken from this website.