Sometimes being part of a community means more than you realise. Have you ever needed to feel like you belong?
Every day, people like us, go about our business, but no one really knows what goes on behind our closed doors. Yet when we stick our heads out into the light of day, we find support from the most unexpected people in our community.
When I first arrived in Australia and was desperately lonely, I’d have days go by where apart from a fleeting conversation or two with my local butcher or fruit shop people, I would have talked to no one during school hours older than my 3 year old. Sometime I could go 12 hours speaking to no one apart from my children. Yet my local shopping village provided me a safe haven for feeling like I was part of a community.
We’d laugh at how I pronounced “mince” (and I’m sorry but it is not spelt meeence) or they’d explain what “two-up” is, or I’d simply ask what apples were best at the moment, or that yes please, I’ll have the bread sliced thanks.
At the end of my first year, with a friendship or two safely in my clutches, I did a trip to my local shops at Christmas with a box of chocolates for each of them. This wasn’t about Christmas, it was just about how these people unwittingly threw me a lifeline when I needed it, and made me feel less lonely, and more normal.
And that part was really important to me. I wanted to feel the same as everyone else.
Every day there are people in our community who we brush up against, they don’t know our stuff and we don’t know theirs.
They make our coffees; they put our rolls in a bag, find us a bunch of coriander, or slice our ham. They are our everyday people. They see people like me who are lonely, exhausted mums, people who are sick, or people who are sad, or people who have just received good news. And we may share a little of us in the few fleeting minutes as they’re weighing our sausages, but not enough for them to judge us.
They are safe people who are so much part of our everyday life that we don’t even notice they are.
My local bakery has a few Thai girls who serve and do a roaring coffee trade. They are always smiling, always up, always efficient. The other morning, while waiting, I actually took notice of them. They remembered everyone’s name and coffee preferences, they all crowded around a little girl in her dads arms who had a stamp to show them on her hand, they pulled a snake out of a lolly jar for another little boy they knew, they chatted and brought a little sunshine into that bakery. I left feeling all warm.
It’s the safeness and reliability of everyday people that gives them a special place in our world. Because sometimes you just need some normal and some predictability to make you feel normal.
Who are your everyday people?