On Monday of last week, my family attended the end of the year St. Mark’s Pre School family gathering. Upon arriving at the park, we set out our blanket and briskly followed our kids to the adjacent playground for a quick swing session. Minutes passed and the sea of children and families swelled. Familiar faces all around, as this is our third year of sending at least one of our kids to the pre school. New faces appeared throughout the evening, depending on the tide.
Plates of tacos carried by parents corralling their kids simultaneously, started to find their homes on the island of blankets formed earlier as people arrived. While waiting in line for our food, we met a family. Turns out they live up the street from us, in a house I’ve walked past many a time with a baby stroller and our dog. This encounter a stark reminder that this practice of neighboring and connecting is never done…a realization both humbling and refreshing. More wonderful people to meet!!
As we settled into our blanket with our food, a local children’s musician tuned his guitar. The director of the pre school stood up, announced the music (Steve from Hullabaloo) and thanked everyone for a wonderful year.
As Steve strummed his familiar songs, both original and the classics, kids bounced, danced, intermittently ate and sang. Parents relaxed, smiled, intermittently ate and kept watchful eyes on the throng of children.
The epiphany struck me near the end of Steve’s set. The ‘watchful eye’ mentioned above became a collective effort. Without saying a word, this group of people, with varying levels of connection to each other, but with one incredible commonality, gathered together for an evening of celebration and took care of each other.
A woman located a lost child’s family. Another wiped off the faces of kids from a neighboring lacking sufficient supplies to do so themselves. People gathered other’s trash on the way to the bin with their own. Conversations abounded and warmth (on a chilly evening) permeated the group. Whether intentional about it or not, this was a community.
St. Marks Pre School is the school my wife attended when she was a child. Now, we send our kids their. Perhaps that says something about this place. On this particular night, the saying “community exists everywhere”, woke me to the beauty surrounding me. Anne Mitchell and De’Amon Harges, founders of Tesserae Learning in Indianapolis, brought this saying to my attention, and I thank them for that. If we strive to see community in the places we inhabit in our lives, we will swim in the abundance and beauty life offers everyday.