To call the last week rough would be an understatement. Ella’s arthritis flared in a whole new set of joints, the baby got the stomach virus that never ends, it won’t freaking quit raining and the kids are making me insane, plus a thousand other things I’m sure I’ve forgotten. I was hanging in there, but running on fumes.
Tuesday morning, I got ready to dash out the front door for a school run in the pouring rain when I spotted a bottle of wine sitting on my front porch.
I thanked the “wine fairy” on social media, and smiled all morning at the thoughtfulness of some unknown someone in my neighborhood. (Yes, I know who it is now. No, I’m not telling. The Wine Fairy wishes to remain anonymous.)
Throughout the morning, people left comments about how lucky I was to live in a place with such a thoughtful neighbor, and how they wished a Wine Fairy lived near them. They wished for people to be generous in their own lives, and for a community where you didn’t just know the names of the people living nearby, but enough about their lives to know that they really could use a bottle of wine right about now. I agree with them that it’s pretty cool. I do live with some amazingly kind and generous people nearby.
What I noticed on all of those social media platforms was that not a single person said “out loud, “Oh my gosh, I could BE the Wine Fairy!” Nobody commented in public about the challenge to reach out to the people around them and truly get to know them. Nobody seemed to get that for there to be a Wine Fairy, someone has to BE the Wine Fairy.
Communities don’t just happen. It’s not accidental that neighborhoods exist where people know each other and try to lift each other up. It exists because someone started it. Generosity and compassion are contagious, and it just takes one person to get it all going. Which means that you, too, can live in a neighborhood like mine. You can live in a place where people know each other by more than the car they drive or the dogs we hear barking when they get let outside.
There are people living in the houses all around you. Interesting people. Funny people. Kind people. (And some unfunny, boring ones too.) There are people who are just aching for community hiding right behind those doors, and you could be the one who sets the whole thing in motion. There’s nothing stopping you from being the anonymous generosity of wine, chocolate, flowers, kind notes, balloons, or anything else you can imagine. Don’t be afraid. Don’t second guess. Don’t sit around waiting for the generosity to come and find you. Go out and BE the generosity and compassion in your neighborhood, and I’ll bet that you’ll be surprised at all the ways it comes back to you.
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