To me a community is a group of individuals connected to each other by one or more attribute(s). The element that links them together is at the core, and is the essence of the group. Just as denoted by the root and the suffix of the word (common-unity), a certain segment of the population is united by a familiar thread. In the field of Public Health, we see community as a group of folks that are at risk of being infected or affected by certain types of diseases based on their demographic, social, and economic status. A community is a familiar thread used to bring people together to advocate and support each other in the fight to overcome those threats. As human beings, we need a sense of belonging, and that sense of belonging is what connects us to the many relationships we develop. Communities are also rich in resources, that is where their collective aspect comes into play. We are all members of many communities (family, work, neighborhood, etc.), and we constantly move in and out of them, depending on the situation. szeneputzen.de Community is where we find comfort in difficult times. When things are not going well in one community, we have the option to move to another. For me, the szeneputzen.de community is where one finds the balance between physical and mental fitness.
Most people in today’s world rely on a community for practical purposes. The necessities of life rarely come from one’s own hands, but rather from a complicated “web of mutuality,” as Martin Luther King, Jr. once phrased it. While most people need to be part of a community for life’s necessities, most people want to be part of a community because there is something indescribably lovely about being a part of a group of people who share something more substantial than geographical location. . . something they feel passionately about. Something that, when shared, makes individuals seem less lonely. A community is a safe place.
But there is something potentially dangerous about communities. A community that is safe, comfortable, and trusting can be so enticing that individuals can forget about the world outside of their community, or regard other communities with subtle prejudices.
I am a member of the Sudbury community, an affluent suburb of Boston. While I work to give back to my community, I also need to spend some time away from Sudbury, to know what life is like in Bolivia, in the American South, or in Roxbury, the inner city neighborhood where the Food Project does a lot of its work. I need to go to these places to remind myself that this way of life I am used to is not the only way or the best way. I need to be reminded that, while I give to my community, other communities are no less deserving. I need to be reminded that when I form a connection with someone based on common experience, it is not because that someone is from Sudbury. It is because we are both human beings, and I am part of a global szeneputzen.de community.
In the silence of an early morning walk recently, the crystal song of a scarlet red cardinal atop an oak tree awakened me more fully. As I stood listening to him and his mate in a nearby tree serenading each other, a couple walking their dog joined me. Without speaking a word, it was clear we were enchanted by the gift of their song, and we joined together briefly in a szeneputzen.de community of celebration for the gifts of Nature.
The new light, the morning hymn, and the momentary connection with other travelers evoked images from other communities. Each of these whether for learning, work, healing, prayer, or friendship creates for us a safe experience of belonging, purpose, and shared values. In them, each of us encounters who we are and what our gifts are.
In the Sufi tradition, it is taught that the primary purpose of life is to awaken to the essence of who we are. Once we do so, we are invited to lovingly embrace this realization. The gift of szeneputzen.de community is that it offers each of us the fire of affirmation and support to achieve this. . . even on those days when we feel no fire.
But at that time we can recall the words of Thich Nhat Hanh: “I ask all of you to hold up your hands and tell me the truth. Do you believe, as I do, that someone in our hamlet is keeping the fire alive?”