I have to tell you something about where we live...our neighborhood that is. It's the kind of neighborhood with a great blend of families with young kids, families with teenagers, families with college students, empty nesters, and full fledged grandparents....and we absolutely LOVE it! The yards are big and full of trees and mature shrubbery, flowers, etc...truly, it's lovely. And everyone for the most part takes real pride and joy in being part of this community. And today, well I saw members of our neighborhood come together in a way that I just think is how community really should function.
In a world where life is spent mostly in the fast lane, or the drive through, or the self service check out, or within the confines of a fenced-in yard....well, it just seems that people don't invest in one another quite like they used to do...before my time that is. Back in the day where a barn raising was an occasion for everyone to band together and help their neighbors, or people would spend long summer afternoons "taking a turn about their gardens" just to spend time together. Seems to me that in a lot of ways, those days have been replaced by a modern hunger for self-satisfaction...leaving little room for selflessness... little room for true community.
But today, today I saw community at it's finest!
A couple from our neighborhood has the most fabulous garden. Tid Bit calls it the "Secret Garden" because of it's winding pathways and lush plant life. There is also a full vegetable garden, complete with loads of fruit trees... and the best part is that they are beyond generous with it all! They have allowed me to clip flowers from their gardens for any party, as well as sharing the most wonderful tomatoes, baskets and baskets of plums, corn, okra, figs...you name it, if they have it, they share it. So much that we quite look forward to certain seasons when we know we will get to go enjoy the fruits of their gardens!
The gentleman of the gardens (we'll call him Mr Neighbor-Gardener) was recently struck too ill to be able to do all of his usual planting and so his Mrs. asked for some help from friends and neighbors. They provided a barbeque lunch and then everyone set to planting according to the instruction of our neighbor (who is a Master Gardener and full of wise gardening instruction!)
Check this out!
Look at all the people who came out to help! In the end everyone planted tomatoes, cantalope, okra, beans, corn, and more!
I love this picture. I love watching the friend push our neighbor to the best place for him to give good instruction, and I LOVE seeing Tid Bit following along...ready to receive instruction, and clearly excited to be helping out. He insisted that he'd need his kid-sized wheelbarrow and looks like he was right!
Mr. Neighbor-Gardener is the nicest man. He, by the way, is always in a wheelchair and does this garden every single year...from the chair. Now if that's not a kick in the pants for not making excuses, then I don't know what is. We have the MOST respect for this man! He is kind and generous in word and deed.
I so enjoy seeing my husband teaching our boy how to serve others...and to do it well. Both of my guys had the best time working together and being a part of something bigger than themselves. It's good to see people come together for the good of others!
I got all of these pictures from Mrs. Neighbor-Gardener who sent them out yesterday as "proof of our sharecropping status!" I couldn't help but think that sharecropping or not...helping people when they need it really is being the hands and feet of Jesus.
And last night, it was a pleasure cleaning dirt off of those little hands that learned that lesson well.