Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Community

Tonight I hosted my Homeowners Association Meeting at my house. It has been a long road for me to be happy about this. I quit the HOA in August of last year. I had fulfilled a two year commitment to serve on the board, hating it most of that time. And the funniest thing happened... after I quit, I found I missed it. After a few months of my absence, the president of the board asked me to return and I was happy to say "yes."

I am not naturally a "sweet" person. I am not someone who naturally thinks loving thoughts about others. I don't naturally like others when I first meet them. My nature is to dislike people and distrust them. My ego wants to compete with them and figure out why knowing them will be a bad deal for me. It takes a lot of prayer for me to not let this horrible nature get the better of me.

My first really good experience with living in community with others was being part of AA. I didn't have to always agree with everyone, but I learned how to disagree without being disagreeable. I learned how to do things for others without expecting a parade in my honor and holidays named for me. I learned how to show up and just do stuff that other people do every single day without ever giving it a second thought.

The most amazing thing was, I learned that others were not out to get me. Most of them are pretty decent people. After years in AA, I was able to take those lessons out into the community at large and hopefully be an asset wherever I am. I find that when I am looking at what I can bring to a situation, people tend to look at what they can bring back.

Today my neighbor was out at 6:30 a.m., shoveling the snow off of my sidewalk. I have never asked her to do this, but she does it frequently. When I get out before her, I shovel her sidewalk. In the spring, summer, and fall, we are often outside sharing our manly tools - saws, tree trimmers, drills, etc., and sharing our limited expertise at using them. We have mixed cement and fixed fence posts, chopped down trees, painted shared fences, etc. During one snowstorm, after we realized the snow plows would never come through this little neighborhood, we all got out and shoveled the snow out of the street... no small feat. But it was great community building.

We are now citizens of the world we once rejected. I find it is not nearly as ugly as I thought it was. I have some wonderful neighbors. I am so very grateful for them. I am so very grateful that by being sober and being a member of Alcoholics Anonymous I have learned how to embrace the responsibilities of being a member of a community. It is a wonderful thing.

8 comments:

Mike Golch said...

I was president of board of manangers here in our condo association,I hated every minuite of it especially when we needed a concesus on something on board member would vote just opposite than whenthe thing she wanted she would be the lone vote to stop that as well.I demanded her resignation because we would never accomplish any thing as long as she would vote the opposite every time just to be a pain in the you know where.I was also a corrections officer at the time and the added stress was not good for me.one board member did quite by not the pain in the neck.I ended up beinmg so stressed out that I attempted to take my life.God said no.

Patty said...

Wonderful indeed! Good neighbors are a blessing I take for granted, thanks for the reminder.

Ed G. said...

Been my experience as well. When I stopped trying to compete with everyone (or even judge them), they got a lot more agreeable. I seldom have time to do things outside our AA community or family but, when I do, I find I can contribute in ways I never dreamed of before.
Blessings and aloha...

Lou said...

I like my neighborhood. Unfortunately, my neighbor with the snow blower in out of town, and we got 10" last night. No time to post this morning, husband and I will have to shovel, and leave for work an hour earlier. But..the snow sure is pretty;)

Syd said...

I served on the Land Planning group for the island where we live for ten years. My wife also served on that group. We fought hard to keep the island rural and had a powerful coalition. We succeeded and the island remains one of the last undeveloped areas near the city--it took a lot of working together, hard discussions, and consensus building. A very good lesson in local government and how many factions can come together for the common good.

Kim A. said...

You seem to be where the Universe needs you right now. How awesome is that! I am grateful for people like you. I am a follower and do-zer my nature. A good leader makes my job easy. Give 'em hell.

Namaste

Scott W said...

Haven't done HOA but AA has made it so much easier to maneuver through the worlds nooks and crannies.

dAAve said...

Just letting you know that I stopped by.