Being Subject to My Own Philosophy

Submitted by Eli Winterfeld on November 14, 2012 - 1:44pm


I recently moved into a new home in Kitchener and started building community out of necessity. 

If you have read my past blog about vulnerability you will know that I believe personal vulnerability to be an important aspect of building community.  This past week I got a first-hand experience of the need for vulnerability to build community.

We had just moved in and did not have internet or a printer (we still don’t).  I was leading a session for a youth conference the next day and had no way to access or print the proposed lesson plan.  I thus departed in search of the local library hoping that it did not close at a logical time such as 5:00 or 6:00. 

Lost in the new area of town I asked a man for directions.  We were both headed the same direction and I struck up a conversation with him.  He was a Cameroonian man who had just found a house to rent in Kitchener (a huge step up from the shelter in Cambridge he was staying in).  To my surprise we even knew someone in common.  He told me his new address and invited me to come visit sometime in the upcoming weeks (I have yet to do this but will relay the experience when it happens). 

The library, as it should be at 7:00 PM, was closed.  So, barely even knowing the subject of the lesson the next morning, I began to think of other options.  I had met only one couple (in passing) on my street so far.  So I mustered all my vulnerability and walked over, knocked on their door and asked to borrow their printer.  After hearing my plight she was very gracious and invited me in and set me up in her office to allow me to print a 20 page document.

We connected really well and I am very glad to have a neighbour like her.  Earlier, I had, without a doubt in my mind, assumed my first act of community in my new neighbourhood would be through giving rather than receiving.  I guess I needed to learn a little vulnerability myself.



Hi Eli,

Thanks for sharing about this vulnerable situation. This situation which seemed problematic, provided a great opportunity to get to know your neighbor. It got me thinking about my neighborhood- how would I respond if someone came to my door asking to print something. I think I would be so glad at the opportunity to help and to get to know them better (my husband and I just moved into a new neighborhood- so, we still have far to go in getting to know who our neighbors are). This also got me thinking about how many household things we could share with our neighbors- we all don't need our own: lawn mower, laundry machine, iron, etc. This would increase our contact with each other.

Looking forward to hearing about your meeting with the Cameroonina man- do keep us posted!