How are you holding up? In these times, we long for a healthy community… doesn’t your heart jump to remember it? To regain it? To never take it for granted again? What a time to reflect on the blessings of community! What a time to allow Scripture to reframe healthy community and to tell us where we are heading.
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! Ps. 133:1
Your kingdom come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Matt 6:10
I live in the Parker Street neighborhood and believe few neighborhoods experience as rich of a sense of community as mine. We don’t just wave at neighbors across the fence, we lean on each other to survive. And to celebrate! Front porches aren’t just a place to decorate, sweep, and pass through, they’re the epicenter of life. And I’d say a sign of “health” in our community is every single parent asking, “How can I help?” when we call to check on them. Wellness – body, mind, and soul – is a vital goal for us all.
Reframe healthy community during COVID-19
Healthy community is not what people picture when they think of poverty-ridden neighborhoods. Yet our families offer up what they do have – to us, to their neighbors. Are we concerned about health – mental, physical, spiritual? Yes. Our families were already stretched, and now they stretch further while trying to be safe in new ways and have fewer touch points with neighbors as they keep close, keep inside. Reopened in mid-June, the Parker Street Park tells its own story of isolation in its surreal, statuesque quietness. We’ll be learning, for quite a while, the long-term effects of these uncertain times.
The sweetness of stolen, carefully-arranged moments in the sun (and rain) from this past six months swell our hearts. Getting to share take-home bags of goodie-filled Easter eggs and the Gospel story for families to celebrate together at home. The drive-through End of School Celebration – a flurry of heavy rain, chicken dinners, and hoorays. A bright family art night to splash some color on our lives and refrigerators. Our kids coming to PSM’s Backyard Lunch & Learns to soak up some sun and science. Our high schoolers learning job skills and volunteering all over Lakeland – including the urban farm right next door to me! And our graduates! – us, bursting with pride and praise, getting to attend drive-through graduations and celebrate outside with cupcakes and air high fives. Isn’t the beauty of these moments a tiny foretaste of brothers who live together in unity? Of God’s kingdom shining on earth as it does in heaven? Of healthy community? We are blessed.
Please pray that Jesus would shine so brightly in this time, lighting up the homes, brighter even than that front-porch Florida sun.
-Hannah Hardin, Director of Finance & Business Operations and Staff Advocate for Healthy Community