How Will You Be Part of the Village?

I’m writing at 8:30 in the morning and a plate of homemade cookies is staring me down. It’s not even a plate; it’s a platter. And next to the platter there are two extra plates. Oatmeal raison, chocolate white chocolate chip, gluten free peanut butter. It’s torture. Susan Irgang’s daughter, Rachel, made these for us so we can have something to bring to the hospital for the nurses and midwife who will help bring our baby into the world.

I’ve been thinking a lot about these cookies – not only because my mouth waters sitting next to them. All around me there are illustrations of things that wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for others: the plumber who spent two hours under our sink yesterday; the Bath Fitter salesman who spent an equally long time making sure our old bathtub’s mold won’t plague us anymore; the generous gifts given by coworkers, friends, and family that have made having a child financially possible; the 80+ year old neighbor who somehow always beats me to weed whacking our shared front lawn, the list could go on and on.

On August 23rd I shared from the pulpit about the age old phrase “It Takes a Village!” Such a lovely sentiment isn’t it? The idea that we’re a part of an inter-dependent network that relies on one another for our health, safety and security. Oh but the truth is, that Bath Fitter guy was in my house for way too long. I don’t want to show you the bill from the plumber who gave us a break. And sometimes, I hate to admit it, I leave out the side door so I don’t have to talk to the neighbor who is always (I say enviously) on his porch.

It takes a village – and that is a joy and blessing. It can also be a challenge to our psyche, our spirits, and most certainly our comfort.

This September the theme of our month is Invitation. It will be a month we are encouraged to focus not on what we believe but what we make room for – what we invite into – our lives. So for a day, a week, for the month of September: forget what you think or believe about the village (the ways its let you down; the requirements it has on you; the ways in which it could be different) and instead, make a clearing in your heart and head to see all the ways in which the village is already alive and necessary in our lives. Going it alone is a falsehood. Acknowledging this – not just in thought but in spiritual practice – how will you be a part of the village?

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