Sunday is a typical day in which Nadine and I go to our local community Church, McDowell Mountain Community Church. We usually have Victoria, my middle daughter, and her two sons over for my famous Mickey Mouse chocolate chip pancakes and cooked crisp bacon (Nadine’s a master at this). What we had forgotten to put into our calendar was the church picnic to be held a block from Victoria’s apartment.
After service we all decided to forgo the pancakes and choose instead the church picnic. Popeyes chicken was on the menu for the day and so we were off. We arrived at Scottsdale Ranch Park to over 200 men, women, and children who had also brought their own picnics. Subway. Jimmy Johns. Wild Flower. Homemade sandwiches. It was a smorgasbord of food for a picnic.
We picked out a flat spot to set up our chairs and blanket and began to enjoy the festivities. Touch football. Kickball. Face painting. Football toss. Softball toss. Sack racing. Or just sitting and watching as others participated in the joys of connecting with others. It was then that something interesting began to happen.
Two friends brought their chairs and asked if they could sit with us. Absolutely. Two more friends came with no chairs so they sat on the blanket. Another couple also came and sat down and community began to take place. My little grandson Keaton started playing with his monster trucks with those on the blanket. The more he engaged them the more they got involved in responding in kind. There was tickling, summersaults, more tickling. One individual took Keaton and began to throw him up in the air.
He loved every minute of it. I was sitting there watching all of my friends connecting with my grandson and became so grateful and full of joy for the community that I was experiencing. It was my future generation being loved and valued right before my eyes.
On this journey there are times where you need to go it alone, and yet other times where community is so important in giving value to the next generation. God didn’t create us to live in isolation but in connection with others. My heart is full as I see this happening before my very eyes.