Thursday, November 21, 2013

community

I have had "community" on my mind for a few days......the actual tangible community of people in my life - my church community, my community of friends, my work community but also the community that is sometimes intangible and abstract....like a neighbourhood or town or a community of interest.

I am a big fan of community as a concept, I love the whole global village idea but it is harder to operationalise than it seems.  I think I am a natural connector and nurturer and I love to build community, be part of community, attach people to communities that can include and love them.  

Sometimes that means taking a risk, reaching out, offering a helping hand. Sometimes its hard to find the energy to do that, sometimes we fear rejection, sometimes we feel silly....sometimes it just feels like work.....but in my experience it is usually worth the effort.

It makes me feel grounded to be part of something, to feel connected, to connect to others, to build community.

While I mostly like doing this face to face and person to person - I am going to give some kudos to the community social media allows us to connect to and participate in.  I know some will argue at the authenticity of community through social media and I hear you but I think it has its place.

I get to stay connected to folks around the world and sometimes have very deep and meaningful interactions with them through the social media I engage in.  Sometimes I know these people well and other times hardly at all but we connected out there in cyberspace.   Some folks I could call but it would cost a fortune.  I use skype when that seems useful. But email and Facebook and Instagram are avenues to connect too and even build community ......  I have a little community of mom-photographers I connect to on Instagram now - we have little chats - encourage one another - celebrate great shots - lament missed ones..... it adds to my life and I think it does to theirs too.

In our town last weekend a family unexpectedly lost their husband/father of 4 children ...primary breadwinner..and a community, mostly online through shared groups we all belong to have rallied to help this family with meals and dollars to help with practical matters while they process their grief.  I don't "know" this family - I have only have interactions with the Mom on a FB group but I have done what I can to stand with them - to be part of our community to support them.  The support for them has been overwhelming and far exceeded expectations - much of it anonymous from people in their community either online or in the neighbourhood.

I have been inspired by the generosity and outpouring of love by my fellow community members.

Also inspiring to see how the global community is helping our fellow humans in the Philippines...... it feels like there is so little we can do but if each of us do something......well.....a lot can happen.

I think that is cool.  

I think connecting with other humans is cool.  

I would love to do it over a great cup of coffee ..... but when I can't I am grateful for other ways to connect.

So whether we have hugged lately, or just commented on one anothers FB, or liked a comment or photo, whether we have had long conversations or just waved as our cars passed, whether we will see one another soon or not for ages....if you are part of any of my communities you mean a lot to me....and I am grateful for our connection however close or tangential it may be.

If I may be so bold as to challenge you (and me too) - reach out to someone - connect with someone......who knows where it could lead.....

In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.
Marianne Williamson

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