We arrived to sunny skies and above average balminess, beach chairs slung over our shoulders. Even my sons showed up, having scrounged up a small gang of neighborhood boys to toss around a football and run wild with. Priscilla is coached by her father; I get a kick out of watching the two of them talk shop, and strategize. She adores him; they adore each other.
At the onset of the first half the wind swept in, leaves were spiraling in the air like they were dancing. Then came the clouds, the distant thunder. In a flash, the rain, then hail, then rain again, opened fire on us. My niece and I ran back to our house behind the park to grab rain coats, a travel mug full of hot coffee for my husband, and an umbrella.
The game was delayed but not cancelled. All fired up by the collective determination of the team, each girl continued to dribble, pass, hustle, and encourage one another to keep their heads in the game despite the unfavorable weather conditions. I was touched by this, and even by the rough and tumble camaraderie of the neighborhood boys, all drenched and boisterous – laughing, tackling, howling shirtless in the storm. My oldest was wearing his Church pants, I noticed too late, and I didn’t even care that they were muddied.
We arrived home smelling damp, looking dank, but feeling warm and oddly satisfied, having participated in the life of our small community. This seems all kinds of right to me now: finding contentment in stepping outside of myself to belong to a Whole that is way bigger than myself and my petty preoccupations. Simplicity, humility, present-tense living, habitual gratitude, being kind to another and interacting face-t0-face with another – there is holiness in that, and healing.
“A community is only being created when its members accept that they are not going to achieve great things, that they are not going to be heroes, but simply live each day with new hope, like children, in wonderment as the sun rises and in thanksgiving as it sets. Community is only being created when they have recognized that the greatness of man is to accept his insignificance, his human condition and his earth, and to thank God for having put in a finite body the seeds of eternity which are visible in small and daily gestures of love and forgiveness. The beauty of man is in this fidelity to the wonder of each day.”
― Jean Vanier, Community And Growth