Thursday, June 25, 2009

Near Nowhere and Close to Forgotten

There is a book that I love to read to my children called The Tin Forest by Helen Ward.  The book is nominally for children, but I think it's truly for everyone.  It starts with a house in the middle of a junk pile "near nowhere and close to forgotten that was filled with all the things that nobody wanted."  Eventually, the man who lives in the house transforms his environment into a beautiful home for all manner of creatures.  The book ends neatly by showing the little house in the middle of a jungle "near nowhere and close to forgotten that was filled with all of the things that everyone wanted."  I enjoy this book so much - the gentle images, the soft words, and most especially the idea that we all have the ability to make our world a beautiful place, the kind of place that has the things that everyone wants. 
A parochial school in the next parish over is closing after this school year.  I had an opportunity to sit down with some of the parishioners recently and listen to them.  It's a great neighborhood, a great parish, filled with all the things that everyone wants.  Except, somehow, it turns out that people don't really want those things.  Every day, I hear suburban and exurban people bemoan their commutes, their lack of walkable neighborhoods, their lack of community.  Yet somehow, these people flee the very neighborhoods that offer answers to those problems.  And for what?  I do not understand and I sometimes fear I never will.


Katie Alender said...

Hey, Christy! Good to hear from you!

I'm baffled by what people are willing to give up/accept these days.

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