This is Thanksgiving week but for my wife’s family, this is our family Christmas week. Like any other Christmas/Thanksgiving week, we stop as a family to play games, tell stories, and catch up with family members we haven’t seen for a while.
My in-laws have a 1970’s Monopoly board game that we decided to play as a family. I was the third to go, and I rolled two one’s (lucky me!), which put me on the “Community Chest” space. As I read the Community Chest card (“You are assessed for street repairs”), I was instructed to help my community by paying $200 to the bank for street repairs! As soon as I read the card, I yelled, “I don’t want to help my community!,” slamming the card on the table.
As soon as I said that statement, I felt something in my heart. I knew that statement went against who I am and who I am called to be. Yet, I was once again reminded of my tendencies to be self-centered; only thinking about myself and forgetting about everyone else. It’s my monopoly money, I shouldn’t have to use it to benefits others! I want houses, properties, cash, etc.
I was also reminded that family time can just as easily serve as a self-centered time where the only people that matter are the ones in the room. We tend to eat great food, play games, watch movies, have great conversations, open presents … leading us to forget about the world around us, to only focus on what matters most, us!
For many during holiday times, the word community is resumed to relatives and close friends forgetting that community goes beyond blood, affinity, like-mindedness, empathy, likeness, etc. The word community is based on solidarity. It’s hard to pass the fact that what happens to my neighbor across the street impacts my life just as much as I impact theirs. Therefore, it is my responsibility to reach out and be invested in the life of those in my community.
Solidarity is a word often forgotten in our culture, especially this time of the year. Just the other day, I was reminded of my responsibility to help my community.
The organization I work for, Delaware Christian Church & Academy, believes in investing and strengthening families in a holistic way: spiritually, physically, socially and emotionally. One of our major efforts in doing this is through children and education, both hold a special place in our hearts.
So, when we heard of the Diaper Bank provided by Strengthening Families – United Way of Delaware County and Liberty Community Center – LCC, we were all in! They provide diapers to families in need right here in Delaware.
We heard stories about families only being able to provide a diaper a day for their child. That child then has to go to school/daycare with only one diaper. The mental and physical impact of not having that one item can be detrimental to the child’s educational, social, and emotional development.
We easily could have said, well we as parents have to pay for our own diapers, so these parents should, too. Or well we could provide free diapers to all of the kids in our center, just looking inward. But our hearts were impacted, and the word solidarity came alive once again in me and in the staff and people of Delaware Christian Church & Academy.
We often have the same attitude I had while playing the game with my family, “I don’t want to help my community.” But life is not a game. There are individuals in Delaware city and county who are wrestling with some essential needs, and it’s our responsibility to stop at the “Community Chest” space and supply for the needs in our community. I would encourage you to open the community chest, pick up a card, and invest!
We often only think it means food or financial needs, but I want to share with you that the community chest is full of emotional, social, physical, and spiritual needs that we can impact, and you are the one to make that impact.
I don’t want to help my community, but I get to help my community, and that’s a privilege.
Sam Rosa is the senior minister at Delaware Christian Church.