If someone asks you out for dinner and you don't have it budgeted will you offer to cook instead? If someone asks you out for coffee are you comfortable ordering water? These are questions that I am asking almost on a daily basis now.
We live in a big city and people here go, go, go. In addition to being on the move, people here love to spend time in community. It is one of my favorite things about the city. I absolutely love getting together with friends and neighbors. However, getting together for most of the people we know includes spending a significant amount of money. Now $5 at Starbucks and $15 for lunch here and there is expected but what I am noticing is that these occasions are more than once a week and that not only adds up quickly but might take away from the idea of community.
If the underlying idea is to spend time with one another then why does it always have to be "going out"? What happened to dinner parties and game nights? Walks to the park and tea on the porch? Why do we feel almost embarrassed to suggest an alternative to "going out"? Simply, we are consumers. The city, my favorite magazines, even work tells me I am not enjoying life if I don't have big plans every weekend. If I am not out consuming something I am missing out.
So, that is today's challenge. When someone asks you to dinner think about inviting them over. When someone wants to grab coffee maybe grab a water bottle and take a walk at the park as an alternative.
As part of our fast we have to seek alternatives to going out without giving up the community. I miss those cups of coffee and dinners out and I will be glad when we have the flexibility to say yes to some of those things. But, I am learning that community is less about location and more about just being together.