This Sundays walk was cloudy, windy and quite chilly and Jacqueline Muller from Boulder joined us on this Sunday walk. We want to thank Jacqueline for joining us! As it is always nice to hear others perspective and ideas about our walks!
We chose to walk a mobile home park this last Sunday! What we have discovered from past visits to mobile home parks is that there seems to be significant positive energy amongst those who live in our mobile home parks. Almost all who lived in the mobile home park we walked Sunday were senior community members. The skies were grey and it was windier and chillier than we had expected. We encountered a few people who were very willing to talk with us and each of them accepted our invitation to become more involved in our community’s concerns.
As a reminder, the awareness of one belonging to a community has two dimensions. One is relational – I belong to this community. The other is one of ownership – this community belongs to me. What we are inevitably seeing is that the vast majority of people have a strong desire to belong! As we walk our neighborhoods and making our invitations, we are pleasantly discovering that people really feel a deep sense of being appreciated. We let them know their voice counts, their thoughts matter and their humanness is valued. It is during these moments we make our invitation. It is as if people, now believing they have a voice, feel more connected to our community, more confident they can make a difference, have more belief that their gifts are worthy and, not to be understated, almost instantly believe there is more structure for them to feel and believe they BELONG. They can begin to more clearly see different ways they can be become engaged and involved! And they say YES to our invitation! We do not believe we are experiencing anything that would be surprising for others to hear. A quality invitation is most powerful when done personally, without barter or negotiation, and when letting others know they are truly important to all of us.
Our Belonging Revolution continues! We are entering the season where good weather will allow us to walk more neighborhoods. As many know, we have purposely chosen to walk neighborhoods like mobile home parks and those filled with apartments. Sometimes, we hear that folks in these neighborhoods will not want to engage and will be suspicious of police presence and will want to stay below the radar screen. We are here to tell you that the exact opposite is true! It is amazing and so life-giving what we have encountered! Folks in these neighborhoods are ready, willing and wanting to make the social fabric of our community stronger and more vibrant. Our revolution is alive and well and comes to life for us every single time we are in our neighborhoods!!
From Jacqueline Muller
On this overcast and windy Sunday I accompanied Dan and Mike on their walk in the Mountain View Court neighborhood in Longmont. It didn’t seem too likely that many people would be outside on such a day yet Mike and Dan were trusting that encounters would happen. We learned that most of the residents in this Mobile Home Community are seniors. Many of the folks we met had found a home here after losing theirs in the 2013 flood. Bob working for the school district relocated from Lyons; Cindy, a long time Longmont resident and nurse had also relocated as did Skip. Another resident, Mike, has lived here for some years. All expressed experiencing a sense of safety and community in their quiet neighborhood.
What stands out for me is the willingness these folks had in speaking with us as we walked towards them on this cool, windy morning. Mike and Dan shared their interest in getting to know people in their community (2 years of walking in neighborhoods) and how much they wanted to hear their voices and concerns. After a few minutes folks shared with us that they did have a sense of belonging here in Longmont. Most of the concerns I heard were about the skyrocketing home prices and rentals (their children couldn’t afford living in the city) and the increase of homelessness (some areas of the city feel less safe in the evening).
When Mike invited these residents to join the Longmont community in having a conversation about how to solve many of the city’s issues, at first folks were a bit puzzled. As we explained how each person has insight and wisdom and that this is where the wealth of the community resides, folks engaged and shared their contact info.
What stays with me from this day of encounter is a deep appreciation for both Mike and Dan who are committed to meeting people where they are (each Sunday, weather permitting, for 2 years now) and are creating a dialogue of mattering and engagement. It felt like each conversation we had was building and moving towards something bigger. It had a quality of great simplicity and at the same time a possibility of deep impact I feel enriched and inspired. Next step: how could we get Boulder city officials in this movement?
Thank you Mike and Dan for this opportunity,