A few blocks down from our apartment building, our neighborhood has a community-shared plot for keeping a garden. I've driven past Ten-Barton Gardens countless times, but yesterday was the first time I actually went inside. After walking the circumference of the fenced plot, I couldn't for the life of me find the gate to actually go in -- so I hopped the fence, much to the chagrin of the ladies eyeing me as they tended their plants. I didn't really worry to much about the ladies, but more about why on earth would a shared garden need a fence if the idea is that it's for every one's use.... and then I started daydreaming about the Secret Garden and how there really must be a secret door somewhere to get into this thing.... and then I totally forgot that I had melting groceries in the car and hurriedly hopped the fence and dashed back to save my frozen blueberries....which made me laugh because I thought that all of this was pretty silly since I was at a public garden, yet had to hop the fence to get in, and then I had to save my frozen blueberries when really, why not just grow my own blueberries???
Anyway, the garden is pretty spectacular, and the idea of doing something together with your community appeals a lot to me. We all have communities, whether it's your roommates, your colleagues, your family, your neighborhood, your city..... and we are called to love the place we are in. After all, Jesus himself put a lot of importance to place in the Bible. Wherever he went to preach, we are always told the name of the place, and he individually loved each place and the people within each place.
We are meant to do the same wherever we live. Love the place where we are. Plant a garden, have game night with your roommates and best friends (this sounds so nerdy -- heeyoooo on the contrary, it's so fun,) talk to the people who live in the run-down apartments across the street, eat dinner with each other, share a bottle of wine, make friends with the concierge, hang with the moms standing around the playground as their children run around. My roommate Abigail once tried to take popsicles to the kids in the park but weirdly enough, they weren't there when she went.
We live where we live for a reason, and we are called to love our neighbors and the place where we are. It shouldn't be too difficult (I'm not saying I love my neighbors well. I don't, but I should, and I hope to work on it.) These people are right in front of us. It's not meant to be a burden -- it's meant to be a JOY to love the place where we are. Go out and love -- what a way to experience life to the fullest.