I’m looking out my sisters window watching my children play with their cousins. Two of them are trying to catch snowflakes in their mouth with outstretched tongues while the neighbor dog happily wags her tail. We sip on chai tea as it aromatically fills the room with rich spices. My oldest nephew, who celebrates his seventeenth birthday today, is building a colossal snow man that requires the excavator to place the body and head on top of the base. I am filled with deep content.
Having moments like these to stop, reflect, and take a deep breath amidst life’s rapid pace is refreshing. I love listening to children play and watching them happily create igloo’s and snow castles. This brings me a feeling of peace. In the last couple of days, a winter storm front caused closures of businesses and schools, giving us all the opportunity to slow down and draw in our community. The first day of snow fall my children had early release from school and within an hour there was several inches of snow. The kids excitedly played outside while I prepared lunch with one of my neighbors. We picked up on the excitement with laughter and great conversation in between putting on and pulling off snow gear for our children. By the end of the evening we had 3 other sets of neighbors with all of our children gathering in our living room chatting, sipping, and nibbling on snacks. It was warm, cozy, friendly and reminded me of how essential gathering our community is to our feeling of belonging.
What if we took a deep breath even without the prompting of snowy days and reflect on ways we are community for each-other? I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes that I have shared with my Team at Peninsula Natural Health Center that captures our heart in the way we serve our community. This quote is by Jean Vanier, founder of L’Arche, an international federation of communities spread over 37 countries that serves people with developmental disabilities.
“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.”