Three hundred or so people squeezed into the local town hall a month or so ago. Laughter, music and the aroma of New Mexican food filled the air. Friends, family, co-workers, friends of friends and civic leaders mingled and chatted through the afternoon.
Four generations gathered to celebrate the successes of a young person boldly living with cancer, to share with each other the joy and vibrancy of life, of knowing each other while helping this young person and his family through a tough time. They are a community.
What is community? Community as defined by Webster’s Dictionary is: “the people with common interests living in a particular area”. That definition doesn’t quite hold the same spark as the group that was just mentioned so let’s look beyond this definition to the heart of it. Where does community begin? Does it begin when you are asked to do something or are placed in a situation that calls you to be part of a group?
Community starts with the inspiration of being touched by an experience you have had, by an event that someone you love has experienced, or by something you have witnessed. Community, my friends, starts with you and starts with me being open to saying, “Yes”. If you have some hesitancy in jumping in to a group, event or activity, take minute to let the following quote speak to that fear.
“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”
– Michelle Obama
Your participation in community is valuable.Whether it is spending time working at a medical mission as a volunteer, raising funds to ease a financial burden of a family facing a medical challenge, knitting blankets and rugs for flood survivors, or using organizational skills to plan an event, being courageous and willing to share your skills and talents makes a difference. When you say “Yes” to being in action with those around you, the world changes.
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
“No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
It is the association of willing individuals to step forward together to fill a need that is the essence and power of community. The power of community is what has children be fed, schools to be built and has families facing seemingly insurmountable challenges be supported.
Your community is waiting for you.
Be bold, be you, say “Yes”.