Written by Eden Henderson
Community is an essential part of each of us. Community is what shapes us, pours into and invests in us, and is where we grow. My name is Eden, and I am a senior social work major. Over the past three years of my time at Harding, I have lived in the Searcy community, but as my time at Harding draws nearer to a close, I think about how much I have actually invested in Searcy and explored the community outside of Harding’s campus. If I’m realistic with myself, I often limit my world to my fellow classmates and professors. The people on Harding’s campus have taught me about what it means to have grace in your relationships because I have been shown an incredible amount of grace. I have learned how to listen because of the way that people have so kindly listened to me. My professors have taught me what true learning looks like and have worked with me to reach the point of understanding. These lessons are good and important, and I don’t want to undermine their value, but it is important to also reach beyond these lessons if we desire growth within ourselves and our community.
Searcy, Arkansas, is a small town, full of people with stories. The people that live in Searcy have things to teach us as long as we are willing to listen. Some of their worldviews may be different from ours, and they may see things from a perspective that we are sometimes unable to see. In the times in my life that I have reached beyond what is comfortable, I have learned things that have changed my worldview. It doesn’t have to be a life-changing lesson either; it can be something simple that changes the way we think.
The focus of this column will be to highlight some of the voices in the Searcy community that often go unheard. Different minority-owned businesses around the area will be featured each week; some of them you may know and love already, but there might be others that you have never heard of. All I ask is that you take the time to listen to these peoples’ stories. Even further, take the time to visit these businesses and invest in this community. It is easy to think there is a divide between Searcy and Harding, but it is amazing to think about the diversity and life experiences that exist beyond our inner circles. Harding places a lot of emphasis on the importance of community, and I believe, as a student body, it is time to begin acting on that. Diversity within a community allows for a fuller picture of who God is. Seek to know people who look, think, believe and act differently than you. This is how you grow.