One of the things I've kind of missed since becoming an apostate (gasp! swoon! judge!) is the constant sense of community I had through my religion when I was growing up. When I was a kid, this sense of community was at once awesome and a TOTAL pain in the ass.
Awesome when the adults in your church knew your parents wouldn't be able to come to a basketball game, and showed up to support you as your "Subby Parents". Several times. And why this is so unbelievably noble is because this was high school girls basketball... in Idaho... in the 90's. And even though we thought we were bad ass (and compared to schools in Utah that we regularly beat up on, we were)(lookin' at you, Sky View, Logan and Mountain Crest)... c'mon! Even I can't sit through a high school girls basketball game now without wanting to lay down on the bleachers and take a nice nap... or throw my shoes at the girls on the court because seriously? GET IT TOGETHER AND TRY NOT TO MAKE MY EYES BLEED WITH THIS NONSENSE. And yet these people came to support because they knew you, they knew your family and they loved you. If sitting through high school girls basketball games for someone you're not directly related to you isn't love, I don't know what is.
A total pain in the ass when the Relief Society President calls your parents to rat you out after you pass her on the highway while racing a friend on the way to school... and apparently, 92 mph is FROWNED UPON ON THESE HIGHWAYS.
I remember when I moved to Ogden, I was so glad to be moving away from that small town and the seeing eyes and tattletales. After 18 years of "village" living, I couldn't wait to be anonymous. Well, as anonymous as you could get in Ogden, UT. Which, luckily, turned out to be just the right amount.
But, after having children, one of the things that I have struggled with is the idea that my children weren't going to necessarily have the sense of community that I had growing up because they aren't going to be raised LDS... you know, because of the whole apostate thing.
In the last few years, though, I have come to realize that here in Ogden, my girls don't need to be affiliated with a specific religion to feel a sense of community. To feel loved. To feel protected and cared for. Because that sense of community emanates from the city itself. It is palpable when we walk into the coffee shop and the owners know us by name and ask the girls about the puppy.... when we ride our bikes through the neighborhood on a warm January day, and everyone who drives by honks and waves their encouragement.
We're not special. That community feeling, the love for your neighbors and your fellow man... well, it sounds trite, but here the idea of "it takes a village" extends to everyone... young and old. It's something that our people not only believe, but practice daily. Our people run and bike the trails on a dark, cold and icy January night with nothing but a headlamp and the stars for light, looking for someone who went missing after a hike. Our people stop what they're doing to help tie ribbons all over town for a family who lost a child. Our people read about your friend with terminal cancer who lives thousands of miles away, and donate to his fundraiser... simply because at one point, he was a member of this community. And you're a member of this community. Our people spend a Saturday downtown teaching our kids the importance of
taking care of our rivers... teaching them the value of our natural
resources. All the while noting that they are our most valuable
natural resource. They are our future village. They're
learning from us and seeing our example of how to take care of our
world, our village... our people.
In this town, we're all "Subby Parents"... showing up to take care of each other when we need it. And, that, my friends... that's a community you want to live in.
It's a village.