A couple months ago, I showed up at a meeting where I was supposed to meet a Poudre School District administrator about a proposal they had for how Foothills could better support vulnerable students. As I sat down, I thought I recognized the person they wanted me to meet. But it took the whole hour before we both realized we live next door to each other!
It was funny at the time, and we were both a little sheepish. But today, it would be even more ridiculous! Our worlds have become so localized, it is less and less likely that we would not know the people living in the homes nearest us. Every night at 8pm, I wave at that same “stranger” I hardly knew a couple months ago as we howl together. And each afternoon, I see him cheering on my son as he heads out to shoot his basketball for the 800th time in the day.
This sense of hyper-localized relationships is especially bearing fruit as our Circles get up and running. I am hearing so many great stories about people realizing that another Foothills person lives just a couple doors down, or even, next door!
One of my favorite stories was of one Foothills family’s trampoline getting blown into their next door neighbor’s home in a recent wind gush. Before Circles, it would’ve just been a funny/strange neighbor story. But because they suddenly realized they were both Foothills families, the kids left that trampoline there a few days, knowing that their friends from church would be jumping on it.
For some of us, the way that we’ve grown in the last decade has been a mixed blessing. We know that it is so good to welcome in anyone who is seeking the same awesome experience of welcome so many of us found when we first arrived. And, at the same time, growth has sometimes felt like we have to let go of a more personalized sense of belonging we experienced in a smaller community. We start to lose that sense of what it feels like to know who “lives” next to you (or actually, who sits next to you on Sundays!).
The incredible experience of our Circles is that we can have both. We can welcome all those who need the connection and hope so vital in these times, relishing the power and strength of a larger community. And, we can connect in a much smaller sub-community where we can really get to know one another – our neighbors! – and be there for each other. We can grow together across our different life stages and perspectives, and we can help each other through all of life’s tangled blessings.
Of course, this is mostly still aspirational, not yet a full reality. Because building community and real relationship takes time, and creativity, and intention. And we are making all this up as we go, and nearly everything is changed. But it is the opportunity.
If you aren’t yet connecting in your Circle, I encourage you to give it a try – to see it as an incredible opportunity to live out our covenant where we live, with our neighbors – to dwell together, to help each other, to seek the truth, in love. It is the opportunity to live out the message Rev. Kristen and Christopher both spoke about last Sunday – to discover the ways that small can actually impact the big, and that healing for us all must include healing in the particular place we are.
Speaking of going small – this Sunday we’re going to be exploring “the non-bucket list,” which is just like it sounds. Instead of coming up with a long list of things to do with our lives, we’ll explore what it means to live fully in the life we already have.
See you at 9 am MT on Zoom or 11 am MT on Facebook or the website. I’m especially excited about one of our special guests that would never be possible if not for the times we’re in. Don’t miss it.
PS If you’re feeling confused about what the Governor’s Safer at Home order means, I wrote up a summary of his recent press conference on Facebook you might find helpful.