A group of us have been meeting every week to talk about what it means to be a people living justly*. It has been a bit of a journey for us, and a challenge to look outwardly into the community around us. Every week I've left with something that has impacted and made a difference to me. This week, we talked about community.
Amidst the busy week that I've had, my community reached out to me. Waiting in my car for the level crossing barrier to lift, I had switched off my engine, knowing that sometimes it can be an eternity for trains to pass through.
When the barrier finally lifted, I tried to switch on my engine.
Fail. My little car refused to show any vital signs. None of the usual healthy revving noises, just a pitiful clicking, something similar to an antique typewriter, which of course, meant that the car wouldn't start. And now I was creating a bit of a bottleneck with cars queued up behind me. I prayed the shortest prayer ever. God....... Help.
I'll admit, I felt fairly calm, having only two thoughts running through my mind. Number 1: The most serious concern was that I was wearing some ridiculous cycling shorts. Sadly, when it comes to lycra, I've never been able to pull it off, so when I wear it, it's because I don't expect to 'be seen'. The second, but by no means less important issue was the fact that my breakdown cover had expired a month earlier and, at this inconvenient point in time, had not yet been renewed. Imagine my sadness.
I stepped out of my car, accutely aware of my fashion related faux pas. And the man in the car behind already walking towards me - just happened to be - a friend. A friend with much experience of broken down cars as he has owned many in the past. And with the help of another kind neighbour, a little crew of car pushers and morale boosters, I was able to get the car started, and get home.
Today, this same group of people that have been meeting every week organised a free brunch for our community. We used the car park of the church, transforming it into an outdoor coffee lounge: sofas, newspapers, cakes stands, bacon butties. The idea was just to bless people in our neighbourhood, no strings attached. It was awesome. Such a beautiful day - meeting the people we live with, hearing their stories. Just giving away a cup of coffee and having a chat. I was really... inspired. I want to do it again tomorrow!
So, anyway, giving away stuff is good. Getting to know people is good. Blessing your community is good. It might look different in different places, but wherever you do it, it's going to bring a smile to someone's face. It might make their day.
* Just People