Are we lacking community and connection in our lives?
Most of us can relate to the feeling that we don’t get to spend enough time with the people we love. We’ve got busy lives. There are so many different calls on our attention (I wrote about one of the major culprits last week). But I think we also know what’s really important.
Summer is a season to connect with each other.
Sometimes, I like to think about how people used to live. A century or two ago, most people lived in villages or towns or farming communities. Their homes and where they worked were close together, maybe even one and the same. They had to be—there were no cars or buses or Metro.
A lot has changed since then, and much of it for the better. But one of the things that I think we have lost along the way is community. It’s so common now for people to change jobs frequently, or even move to a new city every few years. This can be exciting, but it also means we don’t put down roots and get to know where we are. How many of us can say we really know our neighbors, or even that we really want to?
I like to think of summer as a good time to change that. Let’s start with the basics: the kids are home from school and college, the weather is warm, and the office usually calms down a little, especially during the muggy days of July and August. That means it’s an opportunity to spend some time together, whether it’s a week at the beach or a cookout in the backyard.
It’s also a chance to take that a step further and to expand our circle. Here’s what I mean: everybody is going to be out and about a little more during the summer. When we walk through our neighborhood, we’ll see more people on the street, or watering their lawns or washing their cars. Take a moment to say hello, even just in passing. For those of us used to living in the city, this might feel weird, but it doesn’t have to be! By putting a little bit of welcoming energy out there, we can start turning strange faces into friendly ones.
This doesn’t mean we have to throw a neighborhood block party or anything (although that can be great fun), but only that we bring an intention of togetherness with us this season, with family and neighbors and friends.
That’s all it takes to start building a community, wherever we are.