What does the word community mean to you?
This word keeps coming to me over and over again. I think it’s because I have found it again. I think I lost it for a long time.
Maybe in the past you used the word “group” or “club” when you thought of something you belonged to. We are so familiar with them when we are young. We go to school together, we play sports, get involved in extra curricular activities, and strive to fit in somewhere. What we longed for was to do life together, in a community.
Looking back, I realize how being involved in these communities helped to keep me accountable, and I was living life with these people on a regular basis. I could not miss practice or a performance without someone wanting to know where I was. I was required to keep moving forward.
Somewhere along the lines, though, we lose the importance of this concept. Part of it is getting out on our own and trying to make our own life. Another part of it is our mobile, relocating society. Many of us no longer stay in our hometowns and start a life there. We move to a new location. We have a hard time meeting our neighbors because we are too busy. We detach ourselves from people because it requires work to develop new relationships and communities. Everybody seems to have their own agenda, and not be as concerned about others. And quite honestly, life is hard! Starting a career, being in the workforce, getting married, having kids – these are all things that help us keep a selfish perspective.
I read a great book called ‘Refrigerator Rights’ about how so few people feel close enough with their friends and neighbors to go in and help themselves to something in their fridge without asking. This is due to so many reasons, and I have been at the point where I didn’t feel like I had any friends or neighbors that could do that. It was a very lonely time.
However, this idea is starting to show just how effective it can be in my life. Why? Because it makes you accountable, it makes you feel good, and you feel supported. There is something unbelievably comforting in knowing that there are people you can call when you need them, or who are praying for you regularly. There is nothing like having a goup of people who are pushing you to be better, whether it’s regarding your health, spirituality, fitness, work, or any other area of your life. You can drop your kids off when needed, you can offer to take someone else’s kids for them, and you can be there for them when they need you. You can get together regularly and build relationships with your families.
I love that we are building these relationships with neighbors and people from our church community, as well as other friends in our lives. It makes an amazing difference in your outlook and your life.
What are your thoughts regarding community? How has this impacted your life?