An interview on Community

Submitted by Christine Epp on December 28, 2012 - 9:21am

 

Derek: What is Community?

Christine: Community is loving your neighbour.

Derek: What does that mean to you?

Christine: Loving you neighbour means being available to them.  This means creating time to be with them; both in their challenges and sorrows and also in their triumphs and moments of great happiness.  It also means service: to help them when they require help.  To be willing to put their needs ahead of your own.

Derek: What are the challenges that you experience with your community?

Christine: Balancing time and life.  Life puts so much demand on your time and it can be difficult to carve out the time required to build and maintain community.  Being in community with someone is a commitment of time and energy.  The other thing that I found very challenging was stepping outside my comfort zone.  Here in Canada we are not very good with community.  We are taught to build up our bubbles of personal space and it can be really uncomfortable to step outside of our individualistic bubble and reach out to others.  A big one for me in particular was getting comfortable knocking on other people’s doors.  I didn’t want to interrupt their life but when I did they seemed excited that I did.  I think it is a cultural thing too.  A lot of the people I live with they are from cultures that are much more community-oriented then ours in Canada.

Derek: What opportunities do you see in your community?

Christine: Random encounters at the bus stop, elevator or hallway create opportunities to start a conversation with someone and to start building a relationship.  Once again, we need to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and the social norms to reach out to people. When we do, there is huge opportunity for community to develop and who knows you might be able to help someone and to live out loving your neighbour. 

An example for me: there was a woman I met from my building on the elevator.  She really needed to find a babysitter for her kid.  After a couple of these encounters on the elevator she said “you seem nice, would you be interested in babysitting my child?”  My housemate and I ended up babysitting her child over the next four months.  Through this process not only did she get to know us better but also she became connected in with our community. Once you are connected to one of us you are connected to all of us.

 

 

Comments:
Neat!

Hi Christine,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights on community!

I especially enjoyed your little annecdote about the woman on the elevator leading to you taking care of her child. Has she continued to be a part of your community?