hers enough for her to start recognizing them. In the beginning, she would tell me when she saw Clayton and Ina. Clayton usually did most of the talking and Ina didn’t say much. Slowly, she learnt through her numerous encounters with them that when Clayton was talkative, it meant that he wasn’t sober. Originally, they would ask my Mom for money, and she probably gave to them what she had, but after a while they stopped. I don’t know if it’s because she took the time to acknowledge them and asked what their names were and made an effort to let them know she saw them and got to know them
Community is a big thing for my Mom, even though at first, I’m not sure if she was convinced of this insight of mine. She makes an effort to know everyone who lives in her apartment building, and speaks to her neighbours to her right and to the left of her. She would probably go across the street and speak with the neighbours there, but unfortunately for her it’s a park.
Ever since I was a little girl, I would always hear my Mom say hi, or just respond to other people she saw in general, either on the street, in a store, or anywhere. It seemed that she knew everyone. She even warned me that she had “birdies” watching me, especially if I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to do, they would see me, and let her know what I was up to. Being a child, I took “birdies” literally, and believed she could talk to the birds that chirped in the trees and flew overhead in the sky. It turns out that the birds were really just neighbours on our street keeping an extra eye on me.
My sister has the same idea about community, except she’s put a new twist on hers, she’s a dog owner. I think she’s a community spreader just like our mom. She buys a coffee or tea at Tim Horton’s, and then she will buy two large coffees for the next two customers, and all she requests is that they do the same. Pass it forward. My sister and Mom are alike as they are always trying to help others and becoming apart of other lives, by smiling, saying hello, giving out a grocery gift card to a single mom or handing out Easter eggs to the customers. It’s the little things where they try to squeeze in and make someone’s else’s life a bit more friendlier. Community is about the place you live in and the people you choose to involve in your life.
For most of my life, community always meant, the community centre, thus the building that is usually the focal point of the local neighbourhood, where dance classes, brownies and girl guides, or seasonal craft sales are held. The community centre where I grew up always reminded me of a church because it’s roof is shaped in a dome like structure, and inside the main hall it’s surrounded in stained glass windows. When the sun shined in, the stained glass acted like a sieve only allowing a certain amount of sunlight in.
My mom speaks about people whose names I can’t remember, or she knows two people who share the same name. It is annoying for me to remember just who is it she’s speaking about. She is about her community on a regular basis because of the nature of her job. Often, it begins as simple as an act of smiling at someone who passes by her, and if she sees this person repeatedly, before long she’s on a first name basis. She’s curious and is filled to the brim with questions, and so she asks for people’s names to start. She’s not a extrovert by any means, but that doesn’t mean she can’t chat with those around her.
Community is also where you can share your faith.
If we are to share our lives with others and generously give of ourselves, we also have to realize that every person is worthy of our giving. Not for their physical appearance, abilities, their languages, their way of thinking, or for any satisfaction that we might receive, rather because they are God’s handiwork, his creation. God created that person in his image, and he himself is present in his or her lives. Jesus offered his precious blood on the cross for that person. Appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love. Consequently, if I can help at least one person to have a better life, that already justifies the offering of my life. It is a wonderful thing to be God’s faithful people. We achieve fulfillment when we break down walls and our heart is filled with faces and names! Pope Francis I Evangelli Gaudium, 274