This past week in her blog, Jen was discussing about how ancient civilizations had a common well that the women gathered around with the children to perform daily tasks and socialize at the same time. She was lamenting that our current society does not have anything akin to that. There have been a lot of great comments about how people are trying to recreate this type of social place in their own lives. I have to agree that, in the world we live in, with the busy lives we have, it is sad to say that people don't spend a lot of casual, unstructured time together. It seems as if there always has to be a purpose to the time we spend together, otherwise we feel that we are wasting precious time. Every year we have a barn party in the fall and I think it is such a success precisely because there is no purpose to it -there is no schedule or time frame at all. Everyone seems to have a great time doing nothing but talking, eating and listening to music. Imagine that! Unfortunately, it is one of the few times during the year that we do something like that.
I was also reminded of this topic last night when we went over to a neighbor's house for a somewhat impromptu pot-luck dinner. Thankfully the hostess, even though she was exhausted from the day, agreed to have us all over. Even if it is not at my house, thinking of food to bring to a pot-luck and then making enough for everyone can be enough to deter me from participating. I mean, who needs all the extra work?? Not to mention the stress of having all those kids run around the house and the pressure of making sure your little ones act civilized during prayers :) (There were five families represented for a total of about 30 people.) The evening was simple as it consisted of dinner and the rosary. It was after that, however, that I realized how grateful I was that we all came together, even if it meant more work and stress than just staying home. One of the ladies wasn't feeling well, so we all gathered around her and put our hands on her, or on someone else, so that we all formed a big circular chain. Then one of the men prayed over her and asked God to bring healing to her. It was very beautiful, and I got a sense that the Blessed Mother and Our Lord were both above us with their hands extended over us while we prayed. We closed the evening with another one of the mom's singing us a beautiful song she wrote about Divine Mercy.
So, even though it took more effort and even though we were all exhausted from the pace we have been keeping, I have to say that the blessings that flow from this type of evening end up being well worth it. We all walk around saying that we really need to do this more often, that it needs to be more of a priority in our lives. What we really should do is stop talking about it and just do it, no matter how much work and grumbling is involved. God has proven time and time again that He will bless us for our efforts.