You know those times when you’re in a restaurant where the tables are a bit close together, and the person at the next table decides that they’re going to get to know you, get involved in your conversation, and generally make a thorough nuisance of themselves? Well, I’m very sorry, but, although I try to control myself, there are times when that person on the next table has a good chance of being me.:
I promise, I mean no harm; I just like people, and I like getting to know them. Friendly, passing conversation is where community starts.
And community is the backbone of society.
But we’re all getting fewer and fewer opportunities.
A while ago, walking from our hotel to an interview with the lovely Maria Rodriguez on Woman to Woman, at Premier Christian Radio, we made the twenty minute walk using Kevin’s phone sat-nav. Not a single chance to ask anyone the way.
People rushed past, with not a chance of even the smallest bit of communication, because they were all so busy texting on their phones that no one looked up for long enough to catch their eye and exchange the most fleeting of smiles.
Some of my most long standing friends are people who caught my eye, exchanged a smile with me, which, on a second time of passing, turned into a friendly word, and off the friendship went. We were designed for community. We like having friends, people we can trust. It makes the world feel a safer, smaller place.
Some of us are extroverts, and some of us are introverts, but nonetheless community is key to our children growing up healthy and happy. Without community, our country will crumple to its knees.
Which is where I’m getting to. We now have lots of nationalities in our country, and we should be learning to live side by side; our children should be going for ‘sleepovers’ in each other’s houses, learning from each other, experiencing different customs, new games and new foods. We should be going round to each other’s houses, eating together, cooking together, revelling in our differences and our similarities. I can’t wait.
Today, walking through a particularly troubled bit of Gloucester, I saw a tall, strong-looking, young man walk out onto the pavement in front of me. He was wearing bright red trainers, cut off jeans and a brilliant red T-shirt; I took the risk, hailed him and told him that he looked fabulous…
He turned, asked me what I’d said, and then, when I repeated it, his face cracked into a blazing smile as he walked back toward me, thanking me and proffering a huge hand to be shaken.
Community starts with men and women getting together and chatting.
We shouldn’t complain about the break down of society, until each of us is prepared to risk the exchange of a friendly word with a complete stranger.
Don’t live in fear – live in the safety and security of God’s hands.
It’s a Good, Good Place To Be.