Tricounty News

What exactly is community?

Community is at the very heart of our daily life, but what is community, exactly?

It used to be that “community” meant where you lived. These days it’s gotten quite confusing.

The word “community” can still mean the neighborhood or area in which you live. But it can mean so many other things.

A few of us have extended families so large that they could qualify as a community unto themselves. 

Your church congregation is a community. So is your school. Your workplace may be part of this community, or it may be in another community.

One’s political inclinations may help to define yet another community, either formally and actively or informally.

Depending on where you live, the language you speak could define yet another community of which you are a part.

Communities can also be designated based on one’s age, gender, hobbies, abilities or disabilities, or  profession.

Enter the Internet age, and boundaries are exploded. Everything is turned inside-out. Now there are “virtual” communities on Facebook or the social networking platform of your choice. Your virtual community of “friends” could be anywhere from a few true friends to thousands of friends-of-friends with some strangers thrown in for spice.

Regardless of what you consider to be your community, now is a good time to reinvigorate your place and role in your community. It’s also a good time to draw on the strength of your community.

Christmas is nearly here, but it seems quite a few of us won’t be hilariously jolly this year. It would appear that just about everyone I know is either ill and/or dying, or has a close loved one who is ill and/or dying. Or they’ve recently experienced the death of a loved one.

I will admit that I used to not pay much heed to the “Blue Christmas” services that used to be held in the area. I didn’t think it applied to me, or anyone I knew well. This year that would be different, for sure.

There are so many struggling and suffering these days, whether it’s financial or health pressures. At a time when all the world should be “happy and gay” for the Christmas season, there are some who just won’t be able to muster the effort this year. 

Bless them. Pray for them. Help them, in any way you can.

If you are one of those who feels the weight of the world while everyone else is joyous and light, please reach out to your community – however you define it – and let them help.

We survive by letting others help us. We thrive when we’re able to help others. It’s how the world keeps spinning and, more importantly, how we don’t fall off.

I’ve said it before, in other contexts, but please be kind to each other. Be kind to yourself. There’s never too much kindness in the world.

Set a good example for the next generations coming up by pitching in and doing something, anything, to help someone else. A smile, a kind word, a few minutes to chat. It costs nothing, but can be priceless to the recipient.

Take care of one another this Holiday season. Be a blessing to each other, and to yourself.

Whether or not you consider yourself religious, you indeed are a blessing to the world. Call it karma if you prefer, but we sow what we reap. Put out goodness and kindness, and it will find you.

Here’s wishing all who read this a true peace in the midst of strife, and joy when it seems you can never be happy again. 

Merry Christmas to one and all.