Redmond is my home and has been for nearly 7 years. In that time, I have gotten to know this town fairly well. It helps to have jumped in with both feet from the beginning. Beyond the neighbors, the friends and the acquaintances, there are the countless faces I just know from soccer and basketball and well, life. There are hundreds of faces and I seem to see most of them at the store; in the produce section. I’m not sure what that means.
Before living here, I lived in the oft maligned area known as The Valley. Had I known of this quirky reference, I might have moved sooner. However, that not being the case, I lived in a couple of different towns over there for the better part of 10 years and in that time I certainly got to know the area. I also got to know my fair share of people, some of which I still keep up with today. The significance of this is my viewpoint looking back; specifically in the way I interacted with those around me.
Over here, on the right side of the hill, I have learned to integrate. It’s not that I didn’t mingle with the masses over there but somehow, this is different. It might be maturity talking, or maybe the gray hair, but my life here is marked in a way that suggests community means something; where I live actually matters. It should go without saying that we should always strive to be in community with those around us, regardless of where we live, but again, this is different.
Here’s the thing, it’s not just that where I live matters, it’s that who I live with in community matters. We talk of making a difference in our communities and neighborhoods but to what end? When was the last time you went into your community and genuinely made an impact? This is not a reproachful question, but a sincere one. The person around the corner from you might be in great need, but in our moments of chaos known as everyday life, we often overlook that person. We don’t do it out of malice. We do it out of sheer ignorance. The truth is we simply don’t know enough about our neighbors.
Communities are shaped by the people in them. You and I make up this one and we have a daily choice to make. Say it with me: “I consciously choose to know the people around me and do what I can, when I can, to help anyone who needs it.”
Think about that. It doesn’t require you to drop everything and run down to the soup kitchen and feed the homeless for the next 2 weeks (although that would be valiant). The decision is to change your mindset. Your community needs you. And as equally important, you need your community.
M Scott Peck said, “There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.”
I’m finding my community a little more every day here in Redmond. Come find it with me.