Sharing the Common Spaces
by Cheryl Mathis on June 8th, 2009
I watch a lot of old black and white movies. The other day, I noticed that people who lived in apartment buildings tended to treat the hallways and lobbies as extensions of their own homes. Those common areas were shared between all neighbors. When guests came, those spaces were utilized.
Isn’t it the same now with so many other areas of our community? We don’t have a playset, but we use the one down the street at the local park, where other families who don’t have playsets go to play. I go for walks on the sidewalks in the neighborhood to exercise, and I pass others who are doing the same thing. Every Sunday we go to mass and gather with dozens of other families for an hour of quiet reflection.
I think it’s all too easy to forget how much we share common spaces with other people. By forgetting, we distance ourselves from everyone else. Life isn’t something to go through avoiding people, keeping to ourselves, striving for privacy above all. Life is messy and wonderful, cram packed full of interesting people with everyday dramas and desires. By being conscious of our interactions with other people in our lives, we break down the walls between income levels and status. We become humans who are living human lives in a community.
When I work in my garden, I can see other neighbors working in their gardens. We are separate, but we are taking advantage of the same sunlight, the same rain that keeps soaking our soil. In an abstract way, we are working together under the sun. I think it’s time for us all to remember just how much we are connected to everyone else.