The Ease of Community when we Work Together

Submitted by Graham Jackson on May 17, 2016 - 3:40am
How asking for help makes any community event better.

Potluck Picture Driveway

This past weekend, I decided to get a head start on summer. We lined a few tables down our driveway, set up chairs for 35, and hung some christmas lights above for lighting as the sun went down. Friends brought over extra chairs and tables, and we all contributed to a potluck dinner. A neighbour walked by during setup, and exclaimed, "I've been meaning to introduce myself for over a year now!" She then proceeded to draw some flowers and art on the sidewalk for us, and went along her way for the evening. Throughout our time outside, neighbours  would stop to chat, cars would lightly tap their horns and wave, and we'd occasionaly get an unexpected guest to sit down and eat with us. A few hours later, our driveway was empty, and we were all satisfied.

This was the second time our house has hosted a Driveway Diner, and it certainly won't be the last. Both times involved more setup than your average potluck, but it provided a way to connect to our neighbourhood in a way that an indoor (or backyard) potluck just can't. And, really - how much work did this take? In an otherwise busy life, how do we find time to reorganize our dinner table furniture for a 2-hour event? 

Planning events for my community is easy because I make constant effort to reach out to my friends and neighbours for help along the way. In a healthy community, most of us are looking for ways to be more involved, and breaking down the barriers between event hosting and event attending has been an important theme to me. Belonging comes from taking an ownership in our communities, and that happens when we all work together with a common goal - even a goal as simple as dinner. 

When the event day comes, I'm reminded to enjoy the time with my community at every step of the way. This means that I find joy in the eclectic collection of plates, the mismatched tables, and the odd assortment of potluck items. In these moments we are all having fun together, which is a vital part of strengthening our bonds in community. Nowhere in Paul Born's book on Deepening Community does it say that we must strive to maintain an image of perfection for each other. We meet each other as we are - tired after a long week of work, but trusting that we are all here to be together. We gather around our mismatched plates and tables, sharing in the comfort that we have arrived together once again. 

I can't wait until  next time - and I know there will be a next time. 

The Essence of Neighbourliness

Thanks soo much for sharing this Graham. I love everything about this!

Shining Example!

What an inspiring example of "living the work." Thanks for sharing Graham!