I have been pondering the topic of community lately and what it means in my life. I am a small town girl at heart and I believe it is important to have a community around you. The feeling of belonging seems to me to be instinctive in at least most of us. I observe others to see the ways in which their needs for community are being met.
Besides the most common sources for community such as family, church, friends,and neighbors, I realized another source of community that is important to me. As I walked into Mahan Publix and greeted Bob, who has worked there a long time now, I realized Bob and Mahan Publix are a factor in my sense of community. 3 of our 4 children worked there over the years. We know many people who have in the past or are now working there. Bob is a mainstay and is one of my heroes for good examples of handling the aging process and its challenges.
I feel a sense of community with a man I'll call Mr. W who monitors the household area at the county dump. As I drop off my trash, I've struck up a friendship with him and I enjoy chatting with him for a few moments as I'm taking care of that task.
I have felt like the group of people I work with are a community. I draw strength and encouragement from them. I learn from them. I hope they learn from me. We pull together and get through tough situations.
Through our years of homeschooling, I used to refer to that community jokingly as "in the world of homeschooling". Homeschoolers are very diverse in spite of the one thing they share which is homeschooling their children. I sometimes haven't liked some of the interactions that have gone on in homeschooling world as diversities clashed. Usually everyone would work together for the best of the children and resolve clashes or come to some kind of uneasy truce. Occasionally, some homeschoolers would stop speaking to and working with other homeschoolers over differences of opinion. This was and is always sad to me. I feel people who fall into this kind of behavior are basically showing a lack of respect for others and their opinions and need to grow up a little.
I worry that America may be losing its sense of community. People seem so polarized into their different points of view. When I see disruption in a country and people on the streets fighting and killing each other, I pray for America. I pray we will not ever come to such as that. I hope that we can keep having respect for each other even in our differences of opinion. America is still a great place to live in spite of its imperfections.
How do you meet your needs for community? Is it important to you?