New Perspectives: by Rev. Heather McCarrel – Try spreading seeds of Care, Connection, and Community

The best part of going away is coming home again!  My husband and I took a mini holiday this past week. We decided to spend a few days in a popular destination prior to the height of the tourist season.  The hotel, known for its luxury, didn’t disappoint nor did its reputation for friendly and welcoming staff; we will be going back.  The restaurants were not only full of charming atmosphere and friendly staff, the food was delicious.

What did surprise me were the tourists. Folks seemed less friendly then I remember.  If a group of us were in an elevator, no one spoke or when a group of us were in the same tour group one afternoon, everyone was polite but certainly not friendly. It seems that folks have become more insular, less interested in connecting, even in the slightest way, with others around them.  As I observed this change in human behavour, I found myself asking, “When did this start to happen?  Is this the result of too much time spent on social media?  Is this a by-product of the pandemic? ” I was puzzled by what I was witnessing.

It wasn’t until our first evening home that the puzzle was solved. We had stopped at the corner store to purchase a bag of milk.  As I was leaving the store, a young man fell in step behind me.  He was balancing several bottles of pop and a few bags of potato chips.  There was dust all over him from the top of his work hat, across his work shirt covering most of the logo from a local construction company, and all the way down to his work boots. He looked to be on his way home from a long day.  Not wanting to slow him down I stepped aside and said, “You go ahead of me, I move rather slow these days.”

He responded, “That’s okay.  I’m in no hurry.”

He stepped ahead of me and walking through the automated doors, he turned and held the door open with his shoulder and said, “Just in case it begins to close on you, I’ll hold it.”  I smiled and thanked him, knowing he had just solved the puzzle for me.

The reason folks down in the city seemed so indifferent to each other is because they don’t live where I live.  In the town I live  in, we hold doors for each other, we smile and chit chat even with strangers and we most certainly care for the other.

His actions reminded me of the saying, ‘Humankind: be both!’

As the first long weekend of the summer arrives may the hospitality of our small communities warm the hearts of the tourists and be carried back to the cities; seeds of care, connection and community.