This morning, we invite some neighbors to join us for our Saturday Morning Pancakes. My artistic neighbor sees the pancakes and immediately makes a homemade stencil so we can decorate them. We relax, drink coffee, and decorate snowman pancakes in the chaos of powdered sugar and syrup.
So there we are, eating our art, and discussing such topics as multiple universes, our thoughts about God, and whether or not technology acts like an autonomous organism. We have smart neighbors. I love the kinds of conversations these neighbors inspire. They can get a whole group talking and thinking.
Meanwhile, I have a film student (who happens to be in my writing class) stopping by to take footage of our neighborhood fitness group for a promotional video about running. Normally, the neighbors meet on Monday nights and walk to school every morning, but we have to reproduce a Saturday Morning Fitness Group for his video. I call neighbors at the absolute last minute and tell them we are running around in my front yard. Could they come by with their children–real quick–and help out my film student? I know this is a little, you know, chaotic.
They come. Without question, they come.
And they welcome the chaos. You have to–when you want to build authentic community–welcome some chaos, some last minute plans. I’ve learned I need to make the space in my life for the possibility of last minute plans. I need to schedule large blocks of nothing.
As some of us finish our snowman pancakes and coffee, others gather in the front yard, and still others hang out in the living room. I haven’t even vacuumed yet. Saturday cleaning day will now be Sunday cleaning day. I overhear neighborhood plans to have a Giant Gingerbread House Making Party. We don’t know when this will happen, and yes, it will be chaotic.
But just send out the call. We’ll come. Without question, we’ll come.