Monday, September 27, 2010

Extreme Community

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of working on "The Nashville Build." This was the Extreme Makeover Home Edition that was filmed right here in my fair city, Nashville. The project was a new daycare and preschool for Lighthouse Christian School, which lost a majority of its buildings during the recent Nashville flood. This is not my first foray into the world of extreme construction volunteering -- I have helped my church build homes for Habitat for Humanity and I am part of a special team that works with an orphanage in Mexico. Last year I and six other men built a 1,600-square-foot daycare building for the orphanage in two-and-a-half days.

What I love about this kind of work (if you could even call it work) is the sense of community it creates. The day I worked on the Nashville Build, I can honestly say I have never seen so many people in one place working around, under, next to, over and beside each other in all my life. Instead of the usual grumps and groans and even fights that break out when you have too many people trying to work in a small area, this was a wonderful symphony of smiles, helping hands, laughter, new friends and community. People are at their best when they are helping others. At this build, status in the "real world" did not matter; what mattered was the willingness to serve. I picked up trash with bankers and school teachers, unloaded trucks with a retiree and his children and their spouses, and painted alongside housewives, city council members and bus drivers. It was wonderful.

I am glad to live in a city that knows how to come together in a crisis, and for months afterward, to put the pieces back together. I am so proud of Nashville for its volunteer heart and spirit of community.

Where do you like to serve and what brings you a sense of community?