I recently attended a women’s bible study at church. The first day, one of the questions was, what do you want to get from this study? Everyone around the table expressed their desire for community. Most of us at the table were introverts, yet the most important thing we all needed was connection to others. The answers sounded a little different but they all pointed to one thing. Community.
I’ve been thinking a lot about community and what it really means lately. It has changed drastically over the years, of course, as many things have. Community used to mean a group of people living near each other, helping each other, doing life together. People relied on those nearest them and it often meant relying on family because those were the people living on the farms next door.
Now, many think of community as the people they have met over the years and keep in touch with on Facebook. Even if they live states apart or on different continents they may think of those people as part of their community.
Some think of community as something totally different. Maybe they live miles away from family and their church has become their community they rely on. While the times have changed and community looks differently, I’ve discovered the need for it hasn’t. We all need community, true community. We all need to feel a part of a group and be able to rely on people around us. And, I think we all want to give back to people too. I know I do.
Today we had to butcher 100 chickens. It wasn’t exactly my plan. Over the summer we had a batch of birds but many died so we ended up without enough to feed our family so shortly before the baby was born I ordered 100 more. What could possibly go wrong?? (Don’t ever ask that question!)
By the time they were big enough to be butchered the meat markets in the area were done butchering for the season so it fell on us to butcher. I was dreading it. I was loathing the idea.
About a month ago we had dinner with a group of people with some of the same interests in homesteading as we do. It was fun night and during conversation we mentioned these birds we had to deal with. It’s so funny…there are plenty of groups of people where mentioning butchering would be met with cringes and grimaces. Not this group! Eyes lit up, people sat forward. Oh yeah? You have to butcher you say?! I’d love to do that! What a weird thing to be excited about!
Today, as that same group of people came out to our house in 5 degree weather sporting Carhartts, boots, and hats (and looking quite fashionable I might add), I realized what community is. It looks like that. Just like that! It looks like one family having a need and other families stepping in willingly and cheerfully to fill that need. It’s not asking for anything in return but company and the knowledge that when they have a need it’ll be filled.
All week I was dreading this butchering. I knew it was going to be frigid out. I knew we were going to have problems. I knew something wouldn’t work right. I was literally anxious all week.
I lifted those anxious thoughts up to the Lord all week and asked Him to bless the work of our hands.
And you know what? He answered every prayer. Not one thing went wrong. He even went above and beyond and let the sun shine right on our space. He gave Andrew the wisdom to make a warm tent and He even had the foresight to give us a heated space in the barn three years ago when we moved in. And the best of all? He gave us a group of homesteaders who were eager and willing to help! There was laughter, smiles, good conversation and lots of productivity!
To top it off and add blessing on top of blessing, we were done in record time! Less than two hours and we were done with 100 birds!
I don’t mind Facebook to keep in touch. I like to see what everyone’s up to. But it’s not really community. What we experienced today was real community and I loved it! Thanks, homesteading friends! I guess we need a name for our club!! 🙂