"It takes a village to raise a child." This ancient African proverb teaches an eternal truth. It does take a village, family, friends, neighbors, and children to nurture each of us. Islands, we are not.
These words "It takes a village..." have been coming to me this past week. My cousin and her partner left yesterday and this morning I took my youngest daughter to the airport. They each went the extra, caring mile.
Wintering in Tucson, I have lived in this mobile home for ten years. Each year I plan for unexpected repairs. I discovered a good "Mr. Fix It" by the name of Lance. Being independent by nature and having divorced "free help", I resolved never to ask for the latter. Then, if I can't do it myself after trying five times, I "call Lance."
This year, arriving here at four in the morning, I noticed, when opening my door that it caught on the deck. I pictured myself arriving next year not able to get in. With no car, no food and neighbors in dreamland, I would be sleeping under the stars. Then the next day, I also noticed little piles of dust in front of my deck steps. Thus, I comfort myself -- after my visitors leave, I will "call Lance."
When my daughter arrives, she notices the deck needs painting -- then notes the "spongy" bottom step. In two minutes she has the hammer, yanking it up. "No, you are not doing that on your vacation.” A half hour later, at her insistence, the clerk at Home Depot, looks at the step and states, "Ms. you have termites." This is the desert. How is that possible? We return home with the paint.
A day later my cousin and her partner arrive from Canada. He sees the missing bottom step. An hour later he is on his knees taking up two other steps -- definitely termites.
Then I ask him if I have a door problem. Now, he is under my mobile home, jacking it up to give it enough room to let the door swing freely.
Meanwhile, my cousin is on the computer showing me how to put my documents, writings, and pictures into the cloud. And my neighbor, seeing, the new steps, brings me over a geranium for decoration. Later, I was told another neighbor had brought over an electric saw to help get the job done.
My village also cared through the internet this past week. A friend "lends an ear" on Skype and several readers emailed their response to the latest writing, proving I am not posting into a vacuum. My six-year-old grandson comes alive on the iPhone and so do I as he excitedly exclaims, "Grandma, the snow is over your car and I am standing on the top step." Then he proceeds with a most enthusiastic and delightful description of a six-year-old's experience of snow. Quite unlike the adult descriptions, I have heard recently.
What strikes me in it all is -- I did not ask for help. In fact, there was no stopping my village even though, my answer was always, "No, I'll call Lance and do it later." Now I am sitting out here surveying my "estate" from my newly painted deck. Those termites are sprayed to death, my steps are solid; there'll be no sleeping under the stars next winter and my writings are saved in the cloud.
I feel gratitude’s warm glow. I know what this week's writing is going to be -- an eternal truth. Does it not take a village of people caring to nurture us, grow us and ignite our aliveness? This interaction reaches out far more than one might guess. Another light goes on in the universe and God winks again.
People caring -- it does take a village.