We are part of an awesome community. I don't mean the suburb we live in or anything of that nature. I mean a bunch of people who have intentionally become part of a community. If you are interested in learning more you can go to the ccda website, but the medium definition of it is that the urban centers in America have been fled from, leaving them full of people who are often living in generational poverty with less than par housing, schools, and numerous other things. So there are groups of Christian's all over the United States moving in to live among the people and minister to them. There are three "r's" that go with it.
The first is to relocate so that it is no longer "us" helping "them" and knowing how to fix "their" problems. Instead it is our problems. Our corner drug dealers, our sub-par schools, and our neighborhood houses that are being (not) taken care of by slum lords.
The second is redistribute. We would like recourse's like money, the knowledge of middle class rules (that control the function of our society), access to education, health care, safe housing and so on to be available to everyone.
And lastly (but not really the last on the list) is reconciliation. We desire to see people reconciled to each other and God.
So in Muncie Indiana there are a group of us who have moved mostly into the same neighborhood (there are a few families who have branched into some new neighborhoods) who are attempting to live this out. We all attend this church. We have had our hearts broken by pouring into families to have them move and never hear from them again. We have also seen people find freedom from addiction. A few Sundays ago we watched a man who has been with his girlfriend for twenty years propose to her in front of the church (she said yes). There is a man in our group who owns a business that employs people who are hard to employ (past addictions, poor employment record, felony on their record etc.). It's where my husband works as well.
It has been a wonderful thing to live here for so many reasons. First of all we live within walking (and a couple biking) distance of all of our friends. We see these people on walks, when we are shopping, at the park, at church on Sundays, and when we plan things like eating meals together and so on. It can be hard because it means you KNOW people's business. It is much harder to be fake with people you see all the time. We have a wonderful couple that Abigail calls grandma and grandpa that we enjoy because both sets of her grandparents are far away. Lots of our friends have kids around the same age, that Abigail plays with and will grow up with.
There are times though that I hate living here. Times when everything seems bleak, I'm tired of constantly living where people can see, or the guy next door is drunk again and screaming at his girlfriend. It's not always something that I'm glad I did, but it's something I always know is right.
So anyway, all that leads up to being reminded of how great our community is again. Last night Jason and I had tickets to a concert. Abigail was supposed to go hang out with her local grandparents, but grandma is pretty sick. The tickets were Jason's father's day present, and yesterday was nine years ago we started dating. For the most part we new we could find someone else. Accept Abigail has had a low grade fever for a few days. We were nearly certain it was from her last molar coming in, but couldn't guarantee. Our friends (who have four kids of their own, and were also watching their two nephews) took on the idea of "the more the merrier." Our daughter had a great time, and when we came to pick her up she was asleep in their spare bedroom. It was so nice that we still got to go, but even better that we didn't have to worry the whole night about how things were going. We knew she was taken care of, loved, and having a good time.
And then tonight another friend called and asked if we wanted to go to the park with them. We ended up showing up and the family that watched our girly last night was there with their kids too. It was so much fun to let the kids run around getting dirty, laughing, (and a few tears here and there) and enjoying themselves. It was nice to stand with all of the other parents talking about life and the joy and pains that come with parenting.
I came home feeling refreshed, connected, and most of all, blessed to be part of something so wonderful. We are an eclectic group that have different beliefs about some things, different parenting styles, and different taste in just about everything. I don't know how many of these people would have naturally become friends if it weren't for intentionality. However we connect on at least one level, and for that reason are committed to sticking it out and loving each other for who they are.