Just a few weeks ago, I was to be in two places at once. My daughter was at dance and my son had a football game. I hated to ask a friend to get my daughter from dance and keep her for a little while (at bedtime on a school night!!!) so I could watch the end of my son’s last game of the season. I had no other option with no family available to help and so I prepared to ask, apologetically, worried that I would be asking too much and putting her in a position where she would be so inconvenienced and put-out. I almost didn’t ask, but when my son looked at me and said, “You’re not going to miss my game, are you?” I knew I had to. My gut twisted into knots. Her response was perfect. She said it was no problem at all. She said she understood. She said, “It takes a village.”
This Thanksgiving I am thankful that we live a big, big world made up of hundreds of thousands of tiny villages. Though we live in a time when we can skype and travel and Facebook and Tweet and text to stay in touch, I appreciate so much the tiny villages that still exist as they always have – the communities that keep us going. The village does things technology still cannot make up for – The village brings casseroles for new babies, to welcome families, to say goodbye – warm sustenance that says love in a way words cannot. The village carpools and shuttles, allowing kids to be involved in sports and activities that build confidence and shape them for the future. The village runs soup kitchens and collects warm clothes and canned goods for those in the village without. The village comes together for the family who lost their home in a fire or for the school that is short of resources. The village breathes life into the corner of the globe which it occupies, no matter how small or insignificant to the world at large.
I am thankful for the villages which surround my sisters and parents and friends who live states away from me. When I cannot bring them a casserole, hold their hand to pray, drop off some hand-me-downs, offer a ride home from school, pick up from dance class, shuttle to a game, collect their mail, pop in to drop off some medicine or soup, give a hug after a bad day, or rejoice with a popping cork after great news – these tiny villages do it in my stead.
I am thankful for the tiny village which surrounds my own family: the teachers who love my children as their own, the neighbors who keep a watchful eye, the church leaders who love us and guide us and know us by name, the doctors who fix us up, the police and firefighters who risk their lives for us, the clerks at the local shops and the small business owners who thank us when we visit. I am also thankful for our place in the village, my children and husband and I, in the moments when we give to others and feel the gratitude only giving provides. I am thankful to pay forward the goodness done to us and to watch the chain of daily tiny acts of goodness march on – seemingly invisible to the world at large. Our tiny village keeps us like the tiny villages across the globe keep others.
The village lets you know you are not alone in this, big, big world as it wraps its loving arms around you and whispers ‘stay here and call this home’.