The C word
I've rewritten this post 40-11 times, and I just got done scrapping four or five paragraphs of good stuff. I was trying to set something up, make it make sense, but I think I just need to get to the point.
Let's get real for a minute. Why do I and my neighbor both need a lawn mower? Unless you live on one of those sprawling estates where it takes 5 days straight to mow the lawn, you probably don't use your mower more than one day a week. So why couldn't you and your neighbor, or even 3 or 4, go in on a nice one together. You work out a day schedule and you get it on your day. Sure there will be a few time issues, but you work those out with your neighbors. And an extra bonus just happened: besides the cash you saved paying half or a third off normal price, you now know your neighbors and have a relationship with them. Something being lost in this day and age.
How many more examples can you think of?
-Setting up a swing set between yards for all the kids.
-Putting in a pool for 3 or 4 families with everyone pitching in on the added insurance expense.
-Sharing a car if you only have a part time job.
-Doing weekly meals with family or friends.
-Doing laundry together with your neighbor in a jointly bought washer/dryer.
-Use your imagination... (Of course there are logistics and issues than can arise, but if you focus on only those you'll always find a problem and never the joy.)
You know what all these things are pictures of? Community; the C word I was talking about. I've craved that community for a long time. I've always scoffed at the extravagant lifestyle of others and thought extra "stuff" was unnecessary. (In bare honesty though, I have often stretched for the very same thing myself, and none of it brought me the joy I thought it would. That joy has only ever come from the people in my life.) The American culture has taken large steps since WWII in a search for independence, but I have to wonder if some of those steps might have been backwards. Getting and owning more and more stuff, and not sharing any of it, isn't where's it at for me.
These thoughts have been in my head since I was 16 and they've continually grown stronger. I've talked about communal living with some of our dear friends for over 8 years now. Living with family in close knit communities worked in this country for 250 years, why did we abandon it? I don't want to anymore. I want to live a little smarter and simpler. And I have a feeling I'm not alone in that desire. If only I could find those other people.
I'm reading a book that four people have told me not to. It's called Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. I guess much of what he talks about is what I've spoken of here, and those well-meaning friends are afraid the book will convict me. We'll see. I just started it this weekend so I'll keep you informed.