Your neighbourhood is more than a collection of structures and parked cars, it is a place where we are building a life, pursuing dreams, finding friendships, playing and working. This is why we give so much attention to the wellbeing of our city; thriving neighbourhoods are vital to the health of those who live there. In simple ways we are working to create a home for everyone.
When I was about 13 years old, our family moved from Regina to Strathmore. It was a big deal for me. I was not sad to move, but I was not sure if my new house would be a home. But a series of events made it home for me, including being welcomed by our neighbours. I met some other 13 year olds, and soon my new place felt a little better. But we also actively decided to make Strathmore our home and my parents worked hard to step into our community with new dreams.
Do you feel at home in your neighbourhood? Is it your ‘home-base’? We can choose to make our neighbourhoods our own by rethinking how we live there. One way of doing this is by walking in our neighbourhoods. This may seem obvious, but so many people do not walk their streets. When we discover the contours of our neighbourhood in the slow and interactive ways that walking affords us, then we may feel more at home. Often when my wife and I walk, even slowed down by kids and a dog, we meet others, share stories, and enjoy some new detail about our neighbourhood.
Another way to feel at home is to invest in existing relationships. People you know, even marginally, may become those people who make you feel welcome. When we turn to welcome others, we are sometimes the ones who receive the most.
Look for bright spots in your neighbourhood. These are places where good stories may be emerging. In our own neighbourhood of Rainbow Falls we have a number of bright spots. One neighbour is planning a community clean up, our church organizes a Soap Box Derby every summer for the kids, some are planting gardens, and others have started creative businesses like a coffee roaster and brewery. We could overlook these stories, but when we see them as bright spots, we discover that their story is connected to ours. Our neighbourhood becomes our home when we are able to spot good things and live with gratitude for what others are doing around us.
Another way of making your neighbourhood feel like home is to bless it. Often we can get caught in the cycle of believing that our neighbourhood exists to serve us, to give us something, and make us happy. This posture always leads to disappointment. When we choose to care for others by looking for ways to give of ourselves for the betterment of our community, we are often the ones to discover new life. When you bless your neighbours, you will feel more at home and you will experience the joy of making your place more than it is.
May you find your home in Chestermere. May your neighbourhood be a place of hope and life for you and everyone around you.