Love is patient .. Love is kind ...
Patient - to be able to accept delays, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
Kind - to show a gentle nature and a desire to help others.
Even with just those 2 descriptions - it's worth celebrating.
Years ago, when I was a young mom, I started a playgroup with a couple of other moms who I'd recently met. We knew the need to connect. We met weekly in each other's homes, until it was decided to move our group to a bigger facility. Five years later, we were still meeting weekly, but in a church basement. These ladies shared their playgroup community with their friends, and that's how our community grew - out of the need for young moms to be together. This was before any social media, but by word-of-mouth our playgroup grew to have 150 people attend our monthly party day. It was a community where everyone was welcome, and that's when everyone joined in the fun!
I used to live in a neighborhood that was full of wonderful people! A few of the ladies met weekly to work on our crafts, or mending, or whatever we were currently doing. Mostly we had tea and treats and visited, sharing in the challenges and successes of our families, our jobs and our dreams. Great lifelong friendships developed from that group! We did lemonade stands, block yard sales, enjoyed our neighborhood Christmas party, an annual Easter egg hunt, block parties and we even organized a Canada Day parade one year! We were a community!
I love to plan parties. It's another reason to just be together and celebrate each other! I used to work with seniors who lived independently within an apartment block. Many spent time alone, not knowing their neighbors. With meet and greet times organized, regular tea parties and outings - the friendships strengthened and a community was formed.
At every age, we need to feel connected, and especially when we feel vulnerable and alone.
So what happens within a community or a good neighborhood? It's not hard to reach out, to extend an invitation for a coffee and visit. I remember one afternoon when I was raking my corner yard. I was finishing up my 18th bag of leaves, feeling dirty and exhausted, when my 80 year old neighbor walked over. She said, "you look like you could use a glass of wine!" I accepted her offer, and as we sat on woven lawn chairs on her front step, she shared stories. This friendship developed into a strong bond as she lived alone in her family home now that her kids had left the city and her husband had passed. We both felt a sense of security knowing that we could count on each other if needed. When I locked myself out of my house in wintertime, and when my dad passed and I just needed to talk, she was there. And she invited me out for a Boston Pizza supper, where her and her husband had regularly eaten together. That's what makes a good neighbor, I think. Being able to just be real and share life.
Last year, I moved. I was moving back to my hometown to live closer to my daughter, her family and grandkids. Also my aging mom was a concern as she was now on her own since dad passed 2 years earlier. I sold my house and bought a condo. Two weeks before moving day, as I was finishing up my last few shifts of work, and into the serious packing and downsizing, my mom went into hospital. Within 7 days she was gone! My friends and family in the city helped me pack up and clean my house and take car loads of stuff to the donation centers. It was my tale of two cites. Some friends in my hometown showed up to unpack and bring meals. Mom's funeral was only 2 days after I moved into my new condo. I needed my friends, my city friends and my hometown friends - and they showed up! My friends and family here visited and spent time as I processed my shock and grief. I will be forever grateful for their patience, their kindness and their thoughtfulness during this time. This is what community does - extends a hand and a heart.
Valentine's Day - I use this day as an opportunity to celebrate my community of friends and family! They are the ones who have shared their lives with me. The laughter and the tears, the joys and the fears. It's real and it's all there.
You know who you are! It's such a privilege doing life with you!
I hold you in my heart! Thank you!