What does community mean to you? Where do you feel a sense of community?
Wondering about the community awaiting in Kentucky, Fred, an elder in my Minnesota church, told me to find my people wherever I live by extending my hand and saying, “hello.”
To me a community involves a sense of support and belonging. People may find this in their neighborhood, city or town. Other people find community in civic organizations, sports teams, workplaces, book and card clubs, coffee shops, and taverns. Communities often exist within communities.
Yet, members of a community may not always feel support or belonging. What if you do not feel like you belong? What if you disagree with the people in your community?
If the goal is build a stronger sense of community, it helps to find shared meaning. It means asking questions and really listening to see the commonality. Looking for differences, I will find them. If I seek commonality, I will find it. At a minimum, each person shares common needs.
Fred gave me clear instructions on how I could create my sense of community. Being part of the community requires engaging in the community. It helps to know the reason for engaging. What leads me to do this? Who benefits? Will it build connection?
Being aware of the energy I bring to any situation may be as crucial as whether I show up. Doing things out of obligation transmit a certain energy. Bringing feelings of frustration or irritation may create disconnection.
Who creates community? I do. You do. We all do. What type of community will each of us create?