Wednesday, October 3, 2012
A Sense Of Community
A few months back when flicking through television channels, Paul and I found ourselves watching a documentary one night called ‘Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder’. It was fascinating to watch, although sad at the same time, giving an insight into the world of a poor chap named Richard Wallace, a hoarder who had literally become almost buried by the clutter and ‘junk’ he had accumulated over the years. His house had become uninhabitable, the only access between rooms being tiny gaps left at the top of doorways among endless piles floor to ceiling high of newspapers and other household items.
What I liked most about this tale though was watching the changing attitudes of the local community towards their fellow neighbour. Residents in the village of Westcott, (who placed a great emphasis on presenting their homes and gardens to impeccable standards) had been battling the local council for years over Richard Wallace and his eyesore. What I found heart warming was the way that a local builder managed to befriend Richard and helped him begin to clear his yard bit by bit, eventually coordinating a busy bee of sorts which saw local townspeople change their way of thinking and actually help this poor man begin to work his way out of the rut he had found himself in.
I began thinking about our own neighbours. Living in the suburbs, there isn’t a community feel here as there would be in a country town. While we often stop and speak to the lovely couples in the houses directly across from us, or give a wave to one another as we drive down the street and so on, our actual neighbours in the house next door are virtually unknown. If I bumped into either of them at the local shops, I probably wouldn’t even recognise them.
Back when I was teaching, I witnessed a real community feel in the tiny private primary school where I worked. Meal rosters were organized by families to help other ones who were dealing with sickness or tough times, parents regularly volunteered to help out at school busy bees and fundraisers and a few lovely Mums on occasion would bake cakes and treats for us teachers for morning tea ‘just because’. A friend of mine who recently had her third baby told me about the lovely community at her eldest daughter’s school who had kindly organised meals for their family in those early ‘newborn weeks’.
For me though, my greatest sense of community has been definitely felt here in blogland. I feel proud to be part of a group who rally together to support others in times of need, who write emails filled with encouragement and kind words when they’re needed and who share their expertise with one another where they can (thank you Katrina!!)
I’d love to hear your own experiences of community spirit… How is your relationship with your neighbours? Are they the type you could borrow a cup of sugar from? Have you found yourself in a caring school or church community? Have you too been surprised by the support shown for one another here online?
Cute mixed media collage above by Laura Wennstrom