On Sunday, my parents, grandma, uncle and good friend of mine all went out to lunch.
The venue was called La Fuente.
The menu was, as expected, comprised of tortillas, cheese, meats, beans and rice.
We sat for a good hour and a half and just talked. We talked about life, current events, relationships, memories... No phones were on the table. We just sat and enjoyed each other.
I listened to my parents reminisce about when they were growing up. Their parents used to throw parties. They knew their neighbors personally. Their neighborhood was a community. Family meals were the norm, not the exception.
As I thoughtfully munched on my enchiladas I couldn't help but feel a sense of deep loss. Almost as if I'd been robbed of something. A need that exists deep within my soul.
I don't know my neighbors. In fact, I couldn't even tell you if my roommates and I live next to guys, or girls, seniors, or college age. I have no clue. Yet Jesus tells me to "love my neighbor as myself"...
Love and community aren't accidental, they are intentional.
There is much that's written in books that has to do with 'community', and much that is preached from the pulpit about building a healthy one. People talk about it all the time. Talk is cheap though...
We live in an era where communication has never been easier, yet we find loneliness and isolation rampant in society. Why is this?
How can we be so easy to reach and yet be so disconnected?
I think we've forgotten how to share life. Spending time out walking with friends. Having guests over to share a meal. Conversations. Learning about their families, backgrounds, hopes, dreams, fears... Building community isn't found in a program. It isn't found in a self-help book. We've got it all wrong, I think...
It takes intention to realize what is occurring around you. It's on the individual.
I'll never forget one afternoon....
I was driving to work at a food service establishment, at which I was a shift manager. By the way, being a shift manager essentially means you receive a little more pay for a lot of extra hours.
I worked most every day, sometimes up to eleven hour shifts,which concluded in me collapsing into bed and the waking up the next day to do it all again. As I was driving I may have been fumbling with my Cd's or was texting someone while driving, but I just happened to look up... I was shocked.
The trees were a brilliant yellow and red. The palette of fall, in all its magnificence, was staring me in the face.
But that wasn't the shocking thing...
When did the trees change??
This question rattled around in my brain for the next ten minutes or so. I couldn't believe that I'd been so lost in my own world I had managed to completely miss the change of the seasons!
I was on autopilot.
I think many people find themselves in a similar predicament in regard to relationship and community. We put ourselves on autopilot.
We go to work, say the right things, put in our time then come home. Wake up. Repeat. All the while our soul is screaming to be known. Screaming for something more than a routine. Something more than the business and the clutter we have come to know as the American lifestyle.
As life continues, it is my prayer to live and love each moment. To see each breath as a unique opportunity to be intentional. To share life. That you and I won't get stuck in autopilot and...
just miss it...