"Because Love is an act of courage, not of fear, love is commitment to others."
- Paulo Friere in Pedagogy of the Oppressed
On Thursday we spent the morning at our church, Pleasant Hill, singing songs of gratitude in English and Spanish, mixing our two services. I watched the singers on stage dance while a woman in the front row banged on a tambourine and everyone in the pews belted out their thankfulness in song.
After church, our Pastor invited us to eat a Thanksgiving meal with his family. We ate delicious food, played Bingo and Dutch Blitz, and taught Pastor how to dance. He wouldn't Wobble, but we got him to do the Cupid Shuffle! Priceless.
That night we had a friend over. We ate a small meal of side dishes and watched Source Code.
Saturday was the day.
My housemate Heather got up at the crack of dawn to begin cooking our turkey. She spent most of the day in the kitchen preparing our Thanksgiving feast while the rest of us either went to hang out with our neighbors, read, or nap.
Charlie and I went around right before dinner asking friends and neighbors if they'd like to come over for some post Thanksgiving festivities. We had several neighbors that were up for it, and we ended up having a pretty full house!
I met Celeste a few weeks ago, so Charlie and I headed to her place to invite her over. She said she was about to go to bed, but instead she grabbed her coat and shuffled out the door with us to our apartment.
This was the first time we had our immediate neighbors over for a meal at our house. We had some great conversation, ate delicious food together, and played with the kids.
Having a full house is a joy, but for me it was also draining. As soon as the conversation died down, the guests left, and the kitchen got cleaned up, I was ready for bed.
I'm learning so much about myself within community. I am discovering, or re-discovering, that I enjoy small groups of people, preferably one or two people, whom I can get to know really well, rather than a large group where I can flutter around getting to know a little bit about a lot of people. I am most refreshed when I can spend time by myself, away from my community, allowing myself to be filled up in order to give fully to my community. I love parties...on occasion. I love walking really slowly with Miss Celeste and Miss Addison, asking them questions, content with the silence. I like silence. A lot. I also really like old people.
The neighbors that I have enjoyed the most since being in Fifth Ward have been the elderly folks I've met. I sit next to Miss Addison every Sunday, and pass Miss Celeste's house every day on my way to and from work, sometimes stopping for conversation on her porch. I think I like them so much because they remind me to slow down, that life is not in a hurry, that I have no need to be in a hurry, that I can enjoy a slower pace with them.