A neighborhood is a fragile thing. Some of us have lived here all our lives, in houses that have been in the family for three generations. Some of us moved here last week. How does that hold together? How do we find common ground and purpose? By an act of will. By taking the intentional step of being actual neighbors. People who know one another, rather than just people who happen to live near each other.
For some that’s daunting. I’m not naturally socially outgoing myself. But once you start down that path it gets easier quickly. One connection leads to another. And suddenly you realize you’re part of a community.
Will you be in perfect accord with everyone you meet in the neighborhood? Of course not. There will be differences of viewpoint, some diametrically opposed. But there can be value in that also. Social media makes it increasingly easy to dismiss those with different opinions. Working with neighbors toward a common goal, reminds you that just because you have some points of disagreement doesn’t mean they are bad people. And hopefully they’ll see that about you too.
Perhaps none of that matters to you. Neighborhood. Community. So what? To be honest, for most of my life it didn’t mean all that much to me. Whatever neighborhood I happened to be living in wasn’t much more than a name. I wasn’t likely to have a clear idea of its boundaries. And I definitely didn’t feel connected to the people living there. Having come from a small town, the anonymity of city life felt liberating.
But a sense of community, of connection, is powerful. It prompts us to work for a good beyond our own immediate needs. And therein lies great satisfaction and happiness. I’m thankful to those who welcomed me into the Beacon Hill community. Have you taken the plunge yet?
– Daniel Hubbeling