March 24, 2012
I saw a wonderful thing today. It was community blossoming. Just as the trees and the bulbs are bursting forth in this wonderfully blessed spring we are experiencing, community was popping out all around me. My oldest son is the youth chairperson for the Wisconsin Vision Walk this year, so we attended their kick-off luncheon today. While I had been in on telephone meetings with a few people a couple of times, the only person I really knew was the director, and hadn’t seen him in almost a year. He recognized us as soon as we walked in, and as the meal progressed and people shared their stories community was forming around us. By the time the meal concluded and Jack had given his speech, he had a whole room full of community.
As the luncheon was at Mader’s we stopped in at the Spice House afterwards. As we browsed I recognized a woman who I have met three times at BOLD (Blind Outdoor and Leisure Development) events over the last year. Her son is eight and visually impaired and both she and her son have kind of hit it off with my son and I. She had not been at the Vision Walk luncheon, it was a totally random coincidence (or divine providence) that we would meet there. So she and her son and my kids and I all spent an hour smelling and licking out of our hands samples of all of the spices and blends (a great activity for the visually impaired, it turns out). We talked about upcoming activities and opportunities for the kids and built community.
Shortly after we got home it was time to get to church for the meal program. My kids were excited to go help their church friends in the kitchen. Then while I was in the office printing bulletins for worship my gymnast son showed up after his state final gymnastics meet. After a brief hug and congratulations, he was eager to run down to the basement to tell everyone about his successes. Then my husband and I spent the evening serving at the meal program, and I watched as long-time church members and our newest members worked together to offer food and human contact to people who had attended the meal program many times, and first timers as well. There was community everywhere. People were having conversations and finding common ground, sharing humor, and reaching out to one another. It was obvious that our church basement, with peeling paint and rotted walls, is in the midst of God’s wonderful world in which miracles happen every day. When two or more people come together God is present. I see it over and over.