Last updated 11/7/2023 at 1:18pm
At The Nugget Newspaper, I have the privilege of manning the front desk and greeting community members as they walk in the door or call on the phone. This public contact is actually my favorite part of the job.
Even after living in Sisters for 14 years and having kids in Sisters schools dating back 18 years, I have never had the opportunity to interact with as many people from Sisters as in this role at The Nugget. I continue to meet people that, in some cases, have lived in this community even longer than I have, yet our paths never crossed until we met here. These people, including those of you who are reading these words, are my neighbors.
At this moment in time, when there are many divisions and much contention in the world, I am grateful to live in a small community where we can connect with our neighbors. The Nugget Newspaper helps people in Sisters Country and beyond come into contact with each other. The very thing that I love about my job here — connecting with community members — is made possible on a wider scale by this local newspaper.
Some of the connections are very personal. For example, there was recently a classified ad featuring puppies for sale. After the ad had run for several weeks, I checked in with the owners selling the puppies and they notified me that I could end the ad. They had been contacted by a couple who saw the ad in The Nugget, came out to pick up a pup, then promptly called another family they knew who selected a pup of their own from the litter. It turns out these two new dog-owning families have sons that are best friends with one another, and their parents plan to teach their sons, and their pups, to hunt together. Relationships will be strengthened because of a connection made through The Nugget.
Some of the connections are broader. A few years ago, a thing called COVID rocked our world. It changed the way we all functioned, from buying groceries to attending school. The effects are still rippling through our communities, as new habits were formed — both for good and for bad. Social isolation remains more acute than before the pandemic. But Citizens4Community, a Sisters nonprofit dedicated to community-building, planned a forum to focus on how the epidemic of loneliness and isolation is impacting Sisters residents. The organizers turned to The Nugget to partner with them in this event. The Nugget published articles and columns leading up to the event to get readers engaged in the conversation. Many people attended, and many of those citizens will take actions to build social connection among the isolated.
A wise Teacher was once asked, “Who is my neighbor?” The Teacher answered by telling a story, casting people from several different walks of life as the characters. At the end of the story, the Teacher asked the questioner which one of the characters proved to be a neighbor. Equipped with the information from the story, the questioner was able to answer his own query with, “The one who showed compassion.”
The interesting thing about this story is that the Teacher cast in the role of neighbor one with whom the questioner would not have associated. The one the questioner recognized as acting as a neighbor was from a group of people that believed and worshiped differently from the questioner’s own tribe. The Teacher helped this questioner figure out that his neighbor is not necessarily the person who lives next door to him or travels in the same comfortable groups that he defined for himself. The questioner’s eyes were opened to see that his neighbor might be anyone he came into contact with, regardless of belief system, who acted with kindness.
If we define a neighbor as one who acts with kindness or compassion toward another, wouldn’t we all want to have as many neighbors as possible? Wouldn’t we want to prove to be neighbors to as many people as possible? Regardless of our differences, we can all be neighbors to one another. Reading the local paper helps us to push the boundaries of our personal contacts a little past our comfort zones. There is no more efficient way of forging connections with Sisters neighbors than staying informed about the members of the community and what’s going on in Sisters through the pages of The Nugget. Then, one is equipped to reach out to those neighbors with kindness.
Read your Nugget. Find a community. Be a neighbor.