The opportunity for building community can emerge from the most unlikely circumstances.
Earlier this year Lorraine and I were looking after our grandsons while their parents were away. Our daughter Anna had asked me to let their pet rabbit Rexy out of his hutch for some exercise. She cautioned me however to keep an eye on him as he had a tendency to jump fences.
I was distracted for no more than ten minutes and, true to form, Rexy made his escape. Several searches of the neighbourhood were unsuccessful and I felt terrible.
Thankfully by day’s end a friendly neighbour walked up the drive with Rexy in her hands.
For Sierra, a local Pilates instructor, this was not the first encounter with this wandering rabbit. Following a previous escape she had found him and, with her husband, knocked on the door of every house in the street to find the owner. Nobody answered the door at Anna’s home and another kindly neighbour offered to take him in. There he stayed until Anna spotted him three months later and Rexy was returned home.
So when Rexy appeared on Sierra’s doorstep on this latest occasion, she took him to the caring neighbour who then redirected her to Anna’s house.
I was very curious to know why someone would take the trouble to knock on every door of a long street to find the owner of a rabbit. Surely taking it to an animal shelter would have been the easier option.
Sierra, who is part of a community-based creative studio called Mosaic Workshop, explained that she saw this as a great opportunity to get to know her neighbours. When you think of it she’s right. What could be a more effective conversation starter than a cute lost rabbit?
Sierra also put herself in the shoes of the family who had lost Rexy and saw an opportunity to serve them.
Sierra’s attitude inspires me. Imagine if we all had just little of her compassion and drive to serve our neighbours as natural opportunities arise. Building community could become as simple as taking the time to return a lost rabbit.