“Community enables us to be something greater than ourselves. Unless we learn in our personal relationships to live for something besides ourselves, how shall we as a nation ever learn to hear the cries of the starving…? What will become of a nation that has no sense of community?“ – Joan Chittister
I have a whole chapter in my book about the importance of community. Whether it is church groups, sports teams, bridge clubs, or neighbors, being part of something greater than ourselves can be both life-giving and life-saving. Being part of a group can empower us to do more than we could as an individual. We also find compassion and encouragement, giving and forgiving.
There are several important communities in my life. I have always lived on a street where neighbors know one another. We share meals, take out each other’s trash, transport one another to important appointments, or just wave to one another as we enter our houses. My colleagues at work formed another community for which I was grateful. We shared lesson plans, watched each other’s classrooms, and covered for one another at meetings. We shared meals, attended gatherings in each other’s homes, and supported one another in times of crisis or grief.
Communities such as AA or Weight Watchers help us to be accountable to ourselves and others. Support groups are communities where we share something in common with others, and where we feel able to “open up” more easily. No matter what the community, the following quote expresses my feelings about why it is so important to not be alone.
“People who are in the best position for happiness are the ones who have strong relationships, and “interconnected webs” of people on whom they can depend for fun and support.”
– Fred Luskin