What is community? Traditionally, community referred to the people who lived close to you, but people now define it many ways. We still have neighbourhood communities, but we also have educational communities, faith communities, communities of people who like to knit, and communities of people who keep exotic pets. There’s the gay community, the freethinker community, countless ethnic communities and communities of men who like “My Little Ponies.” (They’re called “Bronies.”)
Most recently, the concept of an “online community” has become incredibly important for many people. The internet is an excellent place to meet people with similar interests. Whether you are interested in fighting zombies, painting your poodle in neon colours or perhaps connecting children with the great outdoors, you will find people online who share your enthusiasm. I think that’s pretty neat.
You are out there, right? *hears echo* Right?
And so, I’m going to use this online community to talk about the importance of physical community.
Previously, I blogged about my wonderful street, and the many things we share. I did that here: https://unlockingthegate.wordpress.com/2013/03/27/wont-you-be-my-neighbour-building-community-one-street-at-a-time/
Most of the things that we share are nice, and make us all feel good. Sharing playdates, baking supplies, extension ladders and a quarter cow are friendly, cooperative activities, but aren’t strictly necessary.
Recently, however, our belief in community was confirmed when we experienced a 2 a.m. health scare. Wanting to rush to the hospital, we were able to call on a neighbour to watch our children until family from across town could arrive to take over. (Everything is completely fine, in case you’re wondering.) As we were discussing who to call, we realized there were at least 4 families right on our street that we were comfortable calling at 2 a.m. for an emergency. (And more that I know would be willing to come, though we’d be a little less comfortable). (Note: this same neighbour helped us comb the streets when my cat went walkabout.)
Since then, we had another neighbour drop off food, and a bunch of other neighbours offering help and sending good wishes. At the hospital, we even ran into a former neighbour (a doctor) who talked with us and asked how he could help. The familiar face was most welcome.
To the neighbour who came at 2:00 in the morning, you truly confirmed our belief in this community.
I’d love an opportunity to pay it forward. If you live on my street, and you need me at 2 a.m., I will be there in a heartbeat. There’s something that your online community of poodle-painting-zombie-fighting-bronies cannot promise you.
When have your neighbours come through for you?
Tell me your stories!