I’m reading a really good book called MaryJane’s Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook : for the farmgirl in all of us by MaryJane Butters. (Arielle—she wrote the forward in Women of the Harvest) I love it! I’ve devoured it! The section of the book is called “Each Other” and talks about community, the good old days, lending a hand, farmstyle celebrations, etc. She talks a lot about when she was growing up in her Mormon home and community (she has since left the Mormon faith) her mother and all the neighbors were immersed in helping one another. Her mother led a group called The Relief Society. These Mormon homemakers met once a month, taking turns teaching one another and providing relief to those whose burdens had become too heavy to bear alone. Her mother told her, “We had lessons on things like manners, sewing, and cooking, and we organized ourselves into a clean-up team. We also emphasized the importance of dressing nice and helped each other with that.” Her mother also met twice a month with another group for nearly 50 years. This was a group of 15 women that came from a cross section of religions. One night a month they would play pinochle and the other night was for needlework. And her mother said, “And we always made a big deal out of our birthdays.”
MaryJane continues by saying “What I remember of my childhood challenges me now. The buzzword these days to describe what I had is ‘community’. Our entire culture as Americans has changed, but what hasn’t changed is our collective longing for community—the ‘full purpose of heart’ I grew up studying. It’s a way of life that’s hard to keep, and it’s an unbelievable amount of work. But the promise to be faithful to the good in each other is a promise absolutely anybody, anywhere, can make and decide to keep, religious or not.”
This has really started me thinking. It’s hard for me to put in words. Many days, more often than not, I feel like I’m desperate to just touch base with others. I could never really put my finger on the feelings until I read this and now I am convinced it is just what she is talking about that I am missing…ongoing relationships with other women. To help each other, to play, to talk, to encourage, to learn.
I’ve discovered that I am really a home-body. I don’t like to go places very often, most especially with a car full of children. Despite this I desperately find myself yearning to have meaningful conversation with other adults, other women.
When we lived in Bothell my neighbor and friend, Helen, and I would meet 1-3 times a week for morning coffee. We would also help each other with childcare. This is something I don’t have here anymore but I miss it a great deal. I wouldn’t trade my 2.6 acres, goats, chickens and gardens for anything but I feel that there is more to community then what I see right now. I want what those Mormon homemakers had in each other. I want what those 15 women had together for 50 years. I want community.
I’m not sure where this will lead me. It has inspired me though and I hope to be able to encourage others and to grow friendships.
(I’ll check to see if any of the neighbors hope to move anytime soon!
So, speaking of community! The biggest event this weekend on the farm was a roof raising party for the guest house! We had FIVE families and 2 singles join us yesterday (June 17) to get the roof on the guest house!! The sheathing is on the roof and the sides. Ready for shingles, siding, windows and doors. Thank you so much to all who took the time, energy and money to spend the day with us!!! You definitely have an invitation to utilize the guest house once it's done, almost anytime you want.