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With the day being quite cool and windy, we changed plans from a big party out in our pasture to a mostly in the house party. Some gathered around the wood stove in the living room, some sat around the inherited family table, while still others clustered around the kitchen. The many children laughed and played both inside and out, regardless of the light rain. The kids and the more adventurous adults joined in the outdoor games before the potluck meal where the common food was a variety of tasty soups along with breads and pies for dessert. And then the music began. Dan was joined by some of his students, their family, and his jam night friends. They played and sang while the kids danced. I saw most toes tapping at some point or another as all enjoyed the music.

Although I don’t want to over analyze a fun time, I couldn’t help but reflect on community and belonging as I looked at all the faces that shared our home that evening. We’d invited a lot of different people who we know from different parts of our lives; some knew each other and were friends but many did not. Often there is a tendency to gather with those in one’s own demographics; specifically those in the same age and stage of life. I value those friendships greatly but as I saw my daughters chatting with the older guests before going off do play and dance with their friends, I saw community as it can be. While I set out the food, my baby was entertained by a pre-teen and a grandma. A carpenter chatted with a pastor. A mom to teenagers washed up the dishes while they played music.

Sometimes it is easiest to build friendships with those who are most like ourselves and I think we miss out. We miss out on the wisdom that those longer on the journey have to offer. They miss out on energy of youth, the youth miss out on the mentorship of the adult while the child misses out on the example of the youth. We miss out on the growth and challenge of the expanded community.

I don’t want to miss out on that kind of community; not for my family, myself, or those who I share community with.

What are some of the ways that you join in community with others?

* You might be wondering why Fiddler’s Green, that is what we have decided to call our guest house.