One of the richest and most humbling parts of spending a year traveling around in our Winnebago Travato (Woodrow) has involved community. I have been stepping into a place of understanding my need of others, and that this is a good thing. That there can exist a healthy dependence upon one another. Maybe it would be better called interdependence, where two parties are truly blessing one another.
We never intended to spend the winter in Canada, yet here we are and loving what God is unfolding in our lives on Vancouver Island where the weather has recently dipped below freezing temps at night. We do have a propane heater in the RV and run it infrequently, but when things get this cold it’s wise to run our ceramic heater on low throughout the night to keep our water pipes from freezing. This has opened a door of opportunity to be blessed by others. People invite us to park in front of their home or in their driveway to plug in for the night. One friend even puts the extension cord out for us; his way of rolling out the red carpet! Because of this we’ve stayed toasty warm as things got colder, all because of the hospitality and kindness of others.
We also have a fully functioning kitchen in the van, complete with Vitamix, Instant Pot and Ninja air fryer. Trust me, we’re not roughing it around here and I really do love to cook! Though our kitchen works wonderfully it is nice to once again receive the generosity of others. Some have offered us the use of their kitchen for an afternoon so we can prep food for the week. Current favourites on the menu are baked blueberry oatmeal squares which makes for the perfect pre-workout snack, mini frittatas or egg bites, roasted veggies, butternut squash and sausage soup, and fried ground beef and liver which is my attempt to have the benefits of organ meat in my diet with less of the taste!! I find doing the food prep all at once not only easier but I tend to eat healthier if I have good food choices to reach for in our fridge. Once again, all this is made possible by people who are happy to give generously.
Here’s yet another example of being blessed. When travelling around in the van I will say some of the quickest ways to bless my heart is to offer me a hot shower or bathtub and use of a washing machine! We have a lot of amenities in the van, but a washer and dryer aren’t one of them. It’s the simple things in life isn’t it? All of the aforementioned areas we’ve experienced over and over and over in our 13 months living a mobile lifestyle.
Don’t Be a Lone Ranger
Now don’t get me wrong, we could do all of this stuff by ourselves; we’re completely capable physically, mentally, and financially. We could find somewhere to park and hook up, an RV park perhaps. We could cook in the van; afterall we spent a good deal of time and money making our kitchen a beautifully functioning kitchen. Just this week we had another mini upgrade. If you are an organizer you will love our latest addition. Instead of random bags of ingredients all stuffed in the cupboard, we made an investment in the perfect sized containers to hold our dry food items, But that is another story. As for laundry we have and probably could continue using a local laundromat. We could be fully independent, not needing anyone for anything. And yet it has been experiencing the need, and allowing others to step in and meet those needs in a healthy way where I am experiencing a beautiful space in community.
Trying to explain the transference that takes place when we allow others to bless us, and for us to openingly and whole-heartedly receive these gifts, seems difficult. There is something exchanged that goes far beyond money and far beyond physical items. Can anyone put a price tag on a great conversation over dinner? Interacting and spending time with other’s children? Praying over each family and every house we visit? Can the act of receiving be just as delightful to the giver as giving is to the receiver? I feel like we’ve had privy insight into what a healthy community actually looks like.
“Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own effort. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.”Stephen Covey
A Rich and Rewarding Life
So many rich conversations, so many opportunities to bless one another; I am so thankful. Over the last year and a half we’ve amassed so many cool stories of blessing others while simultaneously being blessed by them. Often I see God’s goodness and kindness through each of these individuals. The list of those inviting us in grows longer and longer with each passing week. Whether it’s to use their driveway, their kitchen, their washing machine, or just to come in and sit by the fire. I can’t fully explain it, but I feel so rich with all the people who have loved us through generosity.
My hope and prayer is that Cultivate Connection would be a blessing in your life. Isn’t that what is all about? We are blessed to be a blessing, we are filled up to overflow! You may have the ability to meet a need of someone in your community, or you may want to express your own need in order to enter into a space of healthy and beautiful interdependence. In either situation there is something wonderful to receive. That is why, as we continue on this journey for however long it lasts, I choose community instead of trying to go it alone.