Community is a miracle. We do not always see it as such because of the hurt, pain and anger it stirs in us. But still, community is nothing short of a miracle. The thousands of different schedules, interests, cultures, neighborhoods, apartment buildings, smiles, tears and frowns that all intertwine to create this thing we have labeled “community” gives life so much meaning while simultaneously refining its members through the raw, natural way it exists.
Some of us are scared of community because it requires a lot more than we are prepared to give and take. Scared or open-armed to the idea, it comes for us all. Engaged with it or not, we are all in a community. Both our love of it and hurt by it contributes to most of our daily highs and lows. When we lose a piece of it, or when it is threatened, we gather just how deeply it affects our lives. When we gain a piece of community, we cannot help but wonder how we functioned without it. These lives that we live are becoming more complex by the day. In my 20 years, I have observed something pretty confusing –– the older we get the more we recognize people’s unpredictability while giving ourselves over to the idea that we need other people to make it through life. As we grow older we simultaneously lose trust and gain it.
We put ourselves in positions of vulnerability as we expect to be encouraged, affirmed and fulfilled by our community. The miracle continues to unfold when there are so many days that we get disappointed, torn down and emptied, but we continue to show up. It continues to become even more of a miracle in a climate that says to run from or completely discredit those who have left you feeling hurt, and you don’t.
As you think about the complexities of this miracle, I also invite you to think about why you have chosen, or not chosen to engage with the miracle itself.
PERI GREENE is the beat reporter for The Bison. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.