Talk about a big, broad, buzz word. The word “community” is used so commonly in our everyday language that I think our society has forgotten what it really means. Thus, I write this, attempting to give it some context, some life, some hope.
The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “community” as: a unified body of individuals; such as a group of people with a common characteristic or interest living together within a larger society; such as an interacting population of various kids of individuals in a common location.
Obviously, a common location groups people together, as does a common characteristic. Yet, grouping people together does not necessarily bring people together. I think we all can see that in our everyday lives- our places of work, our schools, our neighborhoods, definitely group people together. However, in many neighborhoods, for instance, people drive away from their garages, only to return in the evening, close the garage door and retreat inside. Our schools are set in neighborhoods that are typically reflective of the aforementioned way of life. Our places of work are seen as an extension of our selves, not as part of our selves. Our groupings don’t always bring us together.
Unified...living together...interacting population…
Re-read those definitions again and begin to see these words. These words, in my opinion, are the key to bringing the word “community” to life. To truly live in community requires action and active participation and purpose. If we are not unified; if we are not living together; if we are not an interacting population...what are we?
This past Saturday night, I, along with nearly 150 other members of Holy Comforter, brought the word “community” to life. People who have been part of Holy Comforter since its inception talked, laughed and lived with others who have a much shorter time connection to Holy Comforter. Many generations, many interests, many hopes and dreams. But, one community.
There was a vibrant quality to the night that resembled a celebration-although a fundraiser, it was definitely a celebration. As we celebrated together, we re-wrote a new definition of community: an interacting population, living together with a unified purpose.
And, for that kind of action, there are no words.