Testimonies of Community Living
Examples Of Community Spirit
Let me give you two personal examples of a community helping out when there is a need.
We lived in the Mountains and were new to that lifestyle. We were city people and unprepared for “Freeze Your Butt Canyon” in the winter time. When a new acquaintance named Joyce Hightower came to visit, she noticed that our home was freezing cold because our source of heat was inadequate.
Joyce went home and told her husband Al about the cold living conditions that we had with four children and a husband gone during the week. My husband had to work three hours away from home in Santa Clara California, and so he came home only on weekends.
Al and a group of men showed up at our house with a wood-burning stove for us. The women came too with hot chocolate and snacks to eat while the men installed the heater–FOR FREE! We later paid Al for the wood-burning stove he gave us, even though he did not expect us to pay for it. The men had purchased the supplies they needed from their own funds and installed the stove with no strings attached. The whole event turned into a joyous social event. We felt very blessed!
Another time we had a huge oak tree fall down in the front yard and take out the entire porch. As a result, we could not open the front or kitchen door to get out of the house. However, we could still use the back door. When Al and his friends learned about the tree on our porch, again they and the women showed up with a team of workers, snacks and hot chocolate.
Keep in mind that, not once, did I have to ask for help. When they learned of a problem, they showed up with supplies and ready to work. This is the way a community should function. These events took place in the 1980′s. . . not the 1800′s. So, as you see, when we commit to it, we can function the same way today as they did in “Wild West”.
Most people have lost their desire to care for each other. We’ve become so wrapped up in taking care of our own concerns and obligations that we no longer notice suffering outside of our little corner of the world. In default, we’ve developed an attitude that government should take care of us instead of the community. This expectation has been passed down through the generations to today.
Think back to when people cared about their neighbors. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, perhaps you’ve seen this situation in a movie. People actually cared about what their neighbors thought, felt, and needed and they tried to meet those needs as a community.
My brother kept using the word “community” as we talked about caring for neighbors. Finally, I asked what he meant by the word community. He said that community embodies the forgotten values of the “Old West” when people raised a house or a barn in one day because a farmer needed it. This is how I understand communities now. This is what I hoped you understand as a community as well.
There are so many ways that neighborhoods, businesses, churches, and government resources can help people in the community we live in and that we as individuals can do as well.
I love the old fashioned concepts of block parties and bake sales in churches to help people in need. I like the idea of gift trees at Christmas time and food drives before Thanksgiving, but there is so much more we can do when we open our hearts and our minds.
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