This week I was struck by two contrasting stories happening amidst the pandemic. The first was watching Grand Designs, the a small local business. In the Grand Designs episode, a young couple, both cancer survivors with one still battling cancer, convert an old barn into a house. The husband has recently updated the local pub where he works and is well known in the community. The project starts before the pandemic hits, but finishes last summer. Like all Grand Designs episodes, there is a good story, a lot of adversity and an incredible house involved.
However, at the end my overwhelming reaction was – where was their community? In the entire episode there was no mention of others chipping in to help out, supporting them. Even though both had battled cancer and at least one of them was well known in the community. I was struck by this because of the communities I grew up in. Perhaps because I grew up in immigrant communities but if this happened there, the story would be about the house the community built. That it would have been built in a few months with people and companies pitching in services and materials at low or no cost.
A couple days later this story came out. And yes this is my brother. And no, he did not do this for the publicity. He does this kind of thing, quietly, all the time. This time someone ‘told’ on him and it got out. Generousity. Understanding that who we are and the ‘success’ we have in life is never just about us, it is always a community effort. Community is also about being seen and seeing others. Everyday. Through small acts.
And here’s the thing. Most of us want to be part of a community that looks out for each other. That is generous. We want companies and organisations that are generous too. But we wait for someone else to take the first step. To be generous first. Perhaps, we need to take the first step. And yes, it’s scary, yes, it may not be received the way we hoped. But someone needs to go first, to lead.
Perhaps today it’s your turn.
Actually there is no perhaps about it.
It’s your turn.
What are you going to do today?