Community is a powerful force. Margaret Wheatley often says that whatever the problem, community is the answer. But the benefits of being part of a community group extends beyond just our problems, in community we find much of what we are looking for.
Communities are places where we find tenacity. Having a network of people who have our back or look out for us gives us bravery to step out into new ventures. We are inspired to try new things and those around us give us the courage to stick with it, even when times are challenging. Community walks with us through change, and celebrates with us when we cross the finish line.
Communities are places where we find new ideas. Researchers are discovering that learning happens best when ideas are shared between people. Knowledge comes when we hear of other experiences, and try them with a group of people we know and trust. Our minds and imaginations grow in community.
Communities are places where we find friendship. Connections come in many forms, some people are peers, neighbours, co-workers, and family members. But each of these relationships build into the fabric of our own lives. Not only do we benefit from new friendships ourselves, but by befriending others we help them find meaning in community, too.
Communities teach us to serve. When we volunteer, clean up, or give of ourselves in some way, we grow into the kinds of people the world needs. Love does not grow in isolation, it grows between people – it grows in community. Living generously changes who we are, and generous living can only come when we care for others, and serve, in tangible and local ways.
Lastly, communities are places where we find abundance. That may be resources, opportunities, encouragement, healing, prayer, comfort, and support. What we do not have ourselves may be offered to us by another, and our resources or networks may help others succeed.
Since I was young I’ve enjoyed church, school, and arts communities. Whether I was failing or thriving, I found friendship, courage, new ideas, ways to serve, and resources in community. I have discovered that people are amazing and can do beautiful things together. I believe that we were simply not meant to go through life alone, we need each other.
As you start this year, consider surveying your networks, friendships, connections, neighbourhood, and workplace. Ask yourself where true, life-giving community may be found in the places and people you already know. Where do you find the power of community and how is your life benefiting from from living in community.
If you are not experiencing community in your life, may 2018 be a year where you discover the power of community in new and fresh ways.