My Changing Perspective On Finding Community

When my husband and I met for the first time in person only six weeks after meeting online, I came to him. I had loads of frequent flyer miles and two weeks of vacation time that I would lose if I did not use it before the end of that month so off I went to England to meet the man I had found quite by accident online.

I had no idea what to expect really even though I had seen photographs of John and Cornwall and even bits of his house and the village, I still did not have a real feeling of what life was like there.

While there are some properties that have parts as old as the 12th or 14th century in the village, we live in a more modern section with many of the houses around us being only twenty or so years old and our home a very young one at thirteen years.

Seeing the houses built so tightly together with so much open land all around them was a surprise to me. I’m not sure why exactly, but I remember thinking at first what a shame it was that the houses were so close. I considered how difficult it must be to feel as if you had any privacy with the houses built as they were.

The view was beautiful though and I was able to see a far distance over the village from my early morning position on the sofa where I would sit with my laptop and write. Blessed with all this beauty I still grumbled to myself about how, as pretty as it was, it would be prettier without the rooftops of other houses.

Can you believe I actually thought that! Let me tell you what’s different about my view now. After living here off and on for most of 2008 and continually since 2009, I’ve settled in and met and made friends with many of the people sheltered underneath those rooftops I once moaned about interfering with my view.

Thanks to days like this and people in the community who reach out to care each other in good weather and bad, I’ve had a chance to meet my neighbors and really learn what it means to be one. I’ve lived so many places in my life and I have become great friends with some people who lived close by, but there’s something different about living in a community as small as this where people come together in the pub, village hall, church and even the village shop.

Finding your own sense community can be difficult due to time and responsibilities. Most of us have too little of the first and too much of second, but if we’re open to looking at things a bit differently we might be surprised by how easy it can be to shift our perspective.

The other day when John was up on the roof working on the house, he encouraged me to climb up and have a look at the view. What I realized standing up there was how differently those rooftops look now that I know the people living beneath them and how much richer my life is for the closeness I feel not just in their physical proximity, but also in the kind way they’ve welcomed me into the community.

I’ve included a rooftop view to help illustrate my new perspective. What about you … is there anything in your life that could benefit from a shift in perspective?

10 thoughts on “My Changing Perspective On Finding Community

  1. I saw your link on the Flying Lessons Facebook page. I so loved your sharing about your shift in perspective (both literally and figuratively!). We just came back from a week in the Caribbean, and the thing our entire family, teens included, found so refreshing was the attitude toward life. The emphasis was on community and family, not “stuff” and careers. I also, enjoyed hearing that you met your husband online as that is how my husband and I met and it still gets some raised eyebrows when we mention it. Nice to know we have some fellow travelers!

  2. Oh I understand this feeling so well. As I’ve finally started to make Evergreen my home, I’ve also lamented the closeness of my neighbors, while wishing I could make new friends. Moving and starting over in a new place is hard work…..I was just thinking this same thing this morning.

    Glad it’s worked out so well for you!

  3. your community sounds nice. i wish i lived in a small, intimate community where neighbors not only knew each other, but where actually friends – i know no one close by – its sad

  4. Oh my I thought you were letting a bird go on the roof – do you see what kind of mad activities I attribute to you?!

    Its wonderful that you feel so welcome and at home in your new community; I think of it as an extended family. And I love the change in perspective. Your neighbours probably feel the same about you 😛 (just teasing.)

    But I still think you’re a bit mad up there on the roof, even though I’d probably be doing the same thing. Very funny.

  5. Such a beautiful post and i adore your lovely words! These photos are truely amazing! Your community sounds really nice! Thanks so much for sharing and i really enjoy reading your story! Have a lovely merry happy weekend and love to yoU!

  6. I also live in a village…a pretty remote one at that..and because I’m the only foreigner, communicating is a problem. My Turkish is just not good enough to have a deep meaningful conversation with any of my neighbours. However, I do feel part of this village. Everyone passes the time of day….and we chat as much as we can. With my husband being away working most of the time, I’m also reassured by the fact that my neighbours are so willing to help….and I know I could call on any of them if I had a problem.

    I love your post…beautifully written.

  7. Hi Elizabeth, what a view your had:-) I must say your blog is very interesting lately , with some deep thought writing going on. It actually makes me question a lot going on in my life. I cannot believe how brave you were to meet John , after only 6 weeks.. 🙂

    I wonder how my people or houses you have in your village., mine is not small. I have a couple of neighbours who would help out and then some others that don’t even smile or say Hello. After living here 5 years I now know a neighbour from across the road.. !!

    Your village looks wonderful, as it is all on different levels, (looks like that in the photo) whereas ours is flat.. !! How wonderful for you to have fitted in and have such a close community. Take care Anne

  8. I loved this post. I am not really familiar with my neighbors but do speak to 2 of them occasionally. I have taken them treats from my kitchen. I do feel safe here though.

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