Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What Is Community?

Yesterday I went outside for a break and some fresh air. I saw my daughter in law, Stacy, who told me that Chloe was looking forward to me picking her up at the day care. I had not seen Chloe for almost two weeks. That's the longest I have gone without seeing her except for the 53 years I waited for her to be born. Because of my son's illness, she missed our trip to the mountains and she was visiting her other Grandma on Thanksgiving. It was great to see her. She missed me and I definitely missed her.

I am supposed to give a reflection tonight on the topic of community. I'm not sure what I am going to say. What is a community and what does it mean in today's world? Well, this isn't 1858 and most of us do not live in small towns or villages where everyone knows everyone else as well as all their business. If someone asked me about my community, I would answer, "Which one"? I am part of the world community of people that inhabits the third planet from the sun called Earth. I also live in a city and a neighborhood. Within my neighborhood, I live in a Church community. I am also part of an extended and nuclear family. In addition to all of this, I am part of a work family and, even though I am a married man, I consider myself part of the extended family of the monastery. In some sense I could also consider myself part of the Internet family because I publish my daily thoughts on a web page for the world to read. Finally, but certainly not least, there is my family of friends. So, when you think about it, defining the meaning of community is not easy. I guess the reality for most people and me is that we are part of a community of communities. I live in many worlds and there is much diversity within these worlds. I sometimes wonder what it would look like to collect all the different kinds of people in my life together in one room. I guess my community is all the people I care about and who care about me as well as all the people I should care about. There should be no one I don't care about on some level. My community is everyone.

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