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"Community" What's that?

Updated: Oct 7, 2022



I've been hearing the word "Community" a lot lately and then watching how so many interact with the word and the concept. I have some thoughts so I wrote them down.


I am American by birth, but spent much of my life in SouthEast Asia. I will never forget moving back to America and discovering how isolating life could be here. It was very hard for me to understand, the culture shock was like going from a warm spring into an arctic


pool with no time to adjust or understand. Finally I learned that what I was feeling was the difference between an "individualistic" versus a "collectivistic" culture.


Growing up in Asia I was accustomed to going out to eat with my friends and everyone putting their dish in the middle of the table to share. Americans definitely thought that was weird and gross. I learned fast that individualistic cultures value what is best for the individual over what is best for the group. I heard phrases like, "Well I just won't get involved" or "That has nothing to do with me" or "That doesn't affect me" or my favorite "where is the government in all this?" - as if the government can solve all our societal woes. While I could understand some of the sentiment behind that mentality, it always seemed problematic.


So many people talk about "Community" and yet so few understand the true meaning of the word "Community". Everyone wants to benefit from community, they want the meal train, the GoFundMe, the care of those around them, but very few people are willing to INVEST in


community.


Community is a two way street, you cannot expect to reap the benefits of community if you are not willing to sacrifice your own time and efforts to sow the seeds of community and water them frequently. The watering of the community seeds is especially important when we don't "feel" like it. The individualist is a flake by nature and for the most part doesn't consider the effects their lack of commitment and reliability has on those around them until they are personally affected by unreliability and flakey-ness.


All this to say; if we want to see our lives change and the world we live in get BETTER we all have to take responsibility for ourselves and roll up our sleeves. What does this mean? It means go volunteer at the Rescue Mission and feed the people who are lost and living on our streets, sign up at your local food bank and help feed the families that live in your neighborhood, organize a block party and get to know your neighbors, become a Big Brother or Big Sister, donate to local Mutual Aid, reach out to the people around you and check in on them, start a meal train for a friend or family member who is in need. There is so much we can do to take responsibility for the world around us. No one is an island.




If you want to receive community, if you want to see your neighborhoods transform GET INVOLVED. Sometimes we avoid community or people because it's scary to be vulnerable and put ourselves out there, but we have to keep trying.


I have personally been hurt by people and scammed and have had folks be ungrateful or unkind and honestly those situations are few and far between. If you let one or two bad experiences stop you from engaging and turn you in to the memeable "introvert" who "hates people" that's just a recipe for lonliness. (no shade on introverts, it's just becoming very trendy to be disconnected and uncaring and call it being an introvert) Get back out there! There are jerks everywhere, but there are way more good people than there are jerks and there's a whole wide world of love waiting for you!




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