As I walk from the MRT station in Singapore to the apartment, I pass a children’s playground. The location is strategic, right on the edge of a school grounds. The bright colors of the equipment attract everyone’s attention. Nearby, one finds a range of exercise stations for adults. I often find myself stopping to watch from a distance. The contrast between the approach taken by the kids and myself is clear.
They play. Without apparent planning, logic, or need to mark their progress, boys and girls climb, slide, and maneuver their way across and over the equipment.
They welcome new comers. If you come with a willingness to join in, you are welcome. There might be exceptions. However, on this playground, I have not seen the clicks.
Celebrations, marked by excited gestures to watching parents, screams, and a few yells, are welcome by all. People come to have fun here.
The adults watching and exercising nearby fall into the same spirit.
Diversity, in actions, expression, and language, is accepted with a smile.
In time recovery and stress, there is a peace found on the faces that is infectious.
Looking good is not always the point of what one does.
The walk by the playground always leaves me filled with a stronger sense of hope. Like the last leg of Paul’s trip, the “short run from Tyre to Ptolemais completed the voyage.” (Acts 21.7) My walk does not take long. There is no need to plan the course or mark the milestones. One can simply walk and be.
I arrive knowing that community is what you find yourself in the midst of. What happens next simply happens. You may try to control it, yet no one person defines a community. We are the mysterious sum of ourselves. The kids have embraced a community on the playground. It is a model I can use today. I know it is time to go to work. They tell me to let go of my ideas. It is time to go and have fun. I see the same invitation.