One of the reasons we moved to Nashville from California was the desire to build a stronger sense of community. NorCal, with its mercenary attitude and transient nature, makes it difficult to build and sustain strong community.
This weekend was a wonderful, but tiring, example of the community we have after a year in Nashville. It started off with drinks at out local McCabe Pub with a songwriter and an educator, both of which we’ve met just by circumstance – playing at the same park (songwriter) or eating at the same restaurant (educator).
Saturday morning was a hot chocolate date with Evie at out local coffee shop Dose. On our way back (we had ridden our bikes), we stopped by a friends house and invited them over. So just after lunch, Evie had three friends who jumped on the trampoline, played with Legos, and generally just had a great time together. Shortly after they left, new friends we met at the neighborhood picnic showed up and we had a chance to learn more about a family a few houses down with a girl Evie’s age. Then I drove Evie over for a sleep-over with her best friend Luca. That gave Kymberlee and I a chance to enjoy the rest of our evening anniversary celebration without even a babysitter!
The dinner last night was with 10 other strangers. At least when we arrived. By the time we left, we had some great new acquaintances that shared similar community values. In addition, at least half of them had a common friend that we each knew well. Nashville in many ways is a small town, and with all the networking Kymberlee and I are doing, it’s rare to find anyone beyond a 3rd degree of separation.
Today was a party for the families in Evie’s preschool. The usual pumpkin carving, s’more making, chili eating party that comes with shared life stages. We are really enjoying the familes at Linden, as they all seem to share values that are important to us such as minimal screen time, outdoor play, healthy eating, and the importance of community over material things.
So yes, this weekend was exhausting for me, the introvert of our union, but it was very satisfying seeing the rich tapestry of deep community starting to show in our daily lives. Gone is the “newbie” stage where our calendars were incredibly open for new relationships. We still need to cultivate depth, but that only comes with time and reciprocity.
We feel blessed. We feel lucky. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed. But as long as we continue to become more interdependent with those around us, we’ll feel our intentional decisions are paying dividends.