I want to share what I think is a great example of community.
As a kid I grew up in a small neighborhood. There were only about 5 houses on our little dirt road. We knew all the families that lived around us. More than just knowing them, we spent a lot of time with them doing fun things like cookouts, camping and snowmobiling. We also helped each other out shoveling snow off roofs, rebuilding motors, constructing decks and additions, and so on. All us kids would spend the night at each others’ houses all the time and really felt like each others’ homes were our homes and each others’ parents were like second parents to us. This was quite clearly a real community.
In 1998 the Northeast was hit with a severe ice storm. Ice is much heavier than snow and the weight from the ice caused trees to fall down all over the place. This led to the majority of Southern Maine to lose power; we lost ours for two weeks! Worse yet, some of the trees fell on people’s homes. Our neighbors had a tree fall through their roof right into their living room. This family had six kids, the youngest being only a few months old. My parents opened our home to these people without a thought. Well, there wasn’t much room in our little house especially considering that now there were 12 people staying there! This would have been difficult had not another neighbor decided all the older kids were going to stay at their house. Me and the other teenagers slept at this family’s house. I remember we all ate together: all 3 families, we all went to pump water together: all 3 families, we all sat around space heaters and candles playing games together: all 3 families. We truly shared all things during this time. I was young and I always remembered this time quite fondly, we would snowmobile and sled and play games all day. It was great. All the adults would participate in fixing meals, which were always large and very enjoyable! There was no school, since the school had been converted into a shelter for those made homeless by the storm. Awful for the people staying there, great for us kids! The point is that what could have been a terrible time ended up being a great time of sharing and fellowship among this small community.
The story ends with the entire community of the town coming together to rebuild the roof and living room of this family with no charge for labor or material!
I want to be a part of a community of believers like this… we didn’t simply gather at neighborhood meetings to discuss plowing and trash pick up. We truly had unity and love for each other that resulted in us naturally helping each other and gathering together to enjoy each others’ company. I pray that I can treat others like my parents treated our neighbors when I was a kid!