We are made to be community. It is obvious that we are when we reflect upon the longings that each of us have to belong. It is especially evident in the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Knowing that we are made in God’s image makes it not surprising that we also want to be in fellowship with others. What does that look like? We love being in the community of our family. We keep in touch with each other even though we live apart. We share each other’s concerns, we celebrate each other’s joys, and we pray for one another. Friends are an extension of family. Indeed, friends are the family we choose. Being in community with friends brings the same obligation as family – concern for each other’s well-being. Often times we find friendship with people who share common interests and that is another way that we enter community. That might mean riding horses together, or attending a Bible study, or riding bicycles on the trails in our city. Perhaps being part of a group such as a writers group.
And then we have the community of our community. It is such a blessing to be able to walk into our dental office and be recognized and greeted by name, and asked how our son is doing. We know when we bring our car to our local mechanic shop, the owner will take a personal interest in making sure that our car is fixed and stop to chat. He even made the hour drive to our wedding vow renewal on horseback (a story for another time). It could be chatting with your favorite checker at Walmart or greeting the person at the drive-thru you frequent. Or striking up a conversation with your server at your favorite restaurant. The possibilities are endless and only limited by your willingness to extend the hand of friendship to those you meet throughout your day. What a wonderful blessing to be able to walk into different businesses around the community and just like the song from the television show “Cheers” – Everyone knows your name – and just as important – You know theirs…
I think the relationship must be reciprocal for it to be the beautiful thing true community can be. Phil and I have lived here a long time and when we talk about perhaps moving someplace else someday, we always struggle because of the community that we are so blessed to be a part of. If you aren’t in a community of your own right now, I want to encourage you to start seeking out people in your life that you can encourage and they can encourage you. It all starts with a smile and a simple offer of friendship. You can even invite that solitary diner sitting across the room in the restaurant who looks a bit lonely to join you at your table – you never know – that may be the start of a beautiful relationship.
How are some ways to build community within your own spheres of influence? Lots of people around us work in service industries, but they don’t have to remain nameless to us when they serve us. We can inquire as to their name, ask how their families are doing and if they’re in school or what their hobbies are. We can express our gratitude for their service. It’s good to remember that people are always the most important and no matter where you find yourself, you can find community. It’s also good to remember that you don’t need to seek out people that are exactly like you – reaching out to those who are different is sure to add a beautiful dimension to your life that you have not previously experienced – and you don’t have to compromise your own personal beliefs and values to open your hearts and minds to others. And if you are already in a vibrant community – invite others to join in.
I hope you Choose TO BE IN Community – We have so much to learn fROm one another and youR Life AND THE LIVes YOU TOUCH will be so much richer for it!