Heaven is a kingdom of usefulness. Conjugial Love 7
And the second is like unto it – you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:39
Over the last six months or so, I’ve been reflecting on teamwork in the different contexts of my life. My role in my birth family (number 2 of 7 children, oldest daughter); being part of the ANC Class of ’69 and the different events and groups I took part in during high school; the varied paid jobs I’ve had; my own marriage & family; joining New Church activities while not living in a New Church community; loads of things in the village where I’ve lived for over 40 years.
In each context, teamwork was involved – sometimes I was at the heart of things, sometimes chugging along in the middle, sometimes on the edges. But each one involved (or still involves) working with others to achieve some sort of goal. I’ve gotten to know many people: some have become firm friends, others remain no more than acquaintances. The effort of everyone involved in any given ‘team’, however big or small, did help to build a sense of community. There’s been a lot of laughter, occasional tearing-out of hair, and once in a while a sobering slice of humble pie. I’ve learned things, about others and about myself. Communities are stronger when their members get actively involved.
When individuals bring their own willingness, experience, skills or fledgling interest to contribute to a group effort – maybe hesitantly or nervously, but doing it anyway – it matters. It makes a real difference to what can be accomplished. And in my experience, on the whole, the more people involved, the better the sense of community. It helps real neighborhoods develop.
Everybody counts. We human beings need each other!
Of course, to be a good team member requires a willingness to listen to others, to compromise, to share the responsibilities involved to achieve the aim – and kindness always helps. I’d like to see the film It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, with Tom Hanks playing Mr Rogers (the TV show was after my time). I suspect a lot of it is about building the bonds of friendship by working together. Here’s a quote from Mr Rogers, in the trailer for the film: “I think the best thing we can do, is to let people know that each one of them is precious.”