kindness, face to face contact, community matters in this time of online fast paced living
I felt the nudge to get out and go for a walk in the sunshine. There was 40 minutes before an online class started. I was a little flat, and did not feel inclined, but I recognised the nudge and so I knew to go.
Heading out, I asked which way. In my ‘wisdom’, I was sure a walk towards the beach was in order.
‘Turn right,’ I heard instead, and flashes of my local coffee shop played across my consciousness. ‘Head there, get yourself a coffee and head home.’
‘Alright’ I thought and enjoying the sunshine I did. I walked to the local that knew and loved me well.
While there, one of the junior staff members asked me how I was. In return, I asked her too.
‘Not too well’ she responded, and after enquiring further she told me her concerns, and her thoughts around the next steps she might take.
‘Give me your hand,’ I said. ‘I’m going to pray for you.’
She did, and I did.
Coffee in hand, I wished her a brilliant day, and headed home. Thinking I would head back the quick way, I checked with Him who knew…
A clear picture emerged, and I felt a prompting to walk home past the park, essentially the way I had walked before.
Sipping my coffee, I was happily anticipating my online class. I felt sheer delight in God, and I could tangibly sense His pleasure in me and in my delight in the morning adventure. Yes, I know. It is a tad ‘Pollyanna,’ but I don’t care. We need more Pollyanna’s that delight in the little things, for they release joy as they go!
As I walked past the park, a lone koala teddy bear toy caught my gaze. He was lying face up on the footpath. I considered leaving him on a fence so the family could return to find him readily; but seeing children playing in the park, I felt to head over and check who he may belong to, even though it may well run me late for my class.
Checking with the few mums who had children and prams, I came up stumps. Readers, in Australia this means I had no success.
Noting the time and wondering if I might have just left it on the fence, yet knowing I had heard not to, I headed back to place the teddy on the fence. I took photos so I could post it on a local Facebook group and hoped that the little owner would reunite with what looked like a well loved toy.
As I finished taking the photos, I noticed in the distance a mum with a child in a pram, hurrying up the path.
Picking up the teddy, I headed towards her. A little shy face peered at me, and with an outstretched hand the little person took the precious koala from me.
Delighted, the mum said what a beautiful thing to do. I felt silly and said she would have found him, anyway.
We exchanged a few more words, and I said goodbye, wishing her well, agreeing that our local community was a lovely place to live.
I walked home logging onto my class late. I briefly wondered what it was all about. Had I missed it? Perplexed, I dismissed it, giving it no more thought.
It was not until this morning as I again headed out for a quick 20-minute walk in the late morning sunshine that it came to mind. God had reminded me I needed to buy some food for 4 hungry boys due to arrive after school, and He encouraged me to go before my class. It was on this walk I asked again what this minor interaction had been all about.
‘Community matters,’ He said.
‘Community matters?’ I responded. ‘I know community matters…’ and then the penny dropped.
Face-to-face connection is so important. I was a stay at home mum. I have also worked from home for 20-plus years. I know how important it is to get out and talk to real live human beings; to smile at people; be in the sunshine; grab a coffee on a walk; sit at a coffee shop to work where they know you and you know them. The brief interactions, the smiles, the encouraging words, and exchange of loving ideas and knowledge about life… it all matters.
In the grand scheme of life, these are such little things – but are they?
In responding to a prompt to have a quick walk in the sunshine, towards my community, rather than in isolation along the beach, I received and gave some loving interaction. I know Christians and non-Christians that are great at this. In this season we are being called to our neighbourhoods.
The Sesame Street song comes to mind that asks ‘who are the people in your neighbourhood?’
The walk blessed me. I chatted to people in my local coffee shop; I stopped to listen to a young girl with some challenges; I smiled at the people doing yoga in the park; and I nodded at a shop owner as I passed by. I stopped to chat to mums in the park, and finally, I chatted to the mum with the child that had lost the toy koala. All incidental moments; all Kingdom in design.
That interaction with the mum, while it ran me late, showed that mum, who perhaps was a little lonely, that she lived in a community that cared enough to stop for the little things, like a lost toy. A little thing to me – a huge thing in a mum’s life with a little one that needs that toy to sleep.
I looked at her and said she looked like she was doing a superb job. We exchanged a few ideas. I said it gets easier, that they end up in school in no time. And I verbally affirmed that she indeed lived in a beautiful neighbourhood. (Bill Meyer I see you!).
And, overall, it blessed me, probably more than I blessed anyone I stopped for.
It reminded me, community matters!
I know the sort of community I want to live in – and so I seek to be the change…
And so how do we create the community we want to live in?
It’s the little things that matter.
We stop for the one.
We chat, we love, and we encourage.
It is in this way that together we impact a nation, one kind act at a time… a grassroots movement…
It is the little things that matter, and God sees them all and cares for each one because…
God is good!
©Beth Kennedy 2021