I think I’m finally starting to get it–this feeling of community and being able to support one another. As I’ve said in other posts, 2012 has been a hallmark year for me in a number of ways. Before I started writing again, I was more of a quiet person, not really expressing myself unless I was absolutely sure the other person would agree with me because, let’s face it, no one wants to be condemned for what they believe.  And I’ve had people do that to me more times than I can count.

This year though I’ve had experiences in two different areas which have taught me the benefits of coming out of my shell. The first of these was in the church my family started visiting. We had not been in a church for several years because our beliefs were not as conservative as the churches we had attended and because we didn’t make a suitable amount of money. It’s hard to think that you don’t deserve the benefits of a community of faith just because you differ in some aspect of yours, but that was where my thinking was for a long time because of what happened to us.  Anyway, we started visiting a Church of Christ on the recommendation of a homeschool mom friend of mine. She said the youth group was the most welcoming place her daughter had ever experienced. This caught my attention because I have teens myself and because that is really something you don’t expect of teens. My older son and I were the first in the family to visit, and I have to tell you, it was a wonderful experience. There was no pressure about anything that you would normally expect from a church–just an attitude of being welcoming. Honestly, it was refreshing. We visited for a few months, and then my husband and younger son started coming too. One of the hallmarks of this church is that no one is superior to anyone else and that we are all a community. The church staff is very approachable, and I have felt very much at home.

The second area where I’ve had a good experience with community is in the writing community. The people who I have met in person and who I have met and interacted with online are some of the most generous people I have ever met. I have learned so much I would have never learned anywhere else, received encouragement, and formed friendships, all through my love of writing. What I’ve also found unique is that writers cheer each other’s successes whether it benefits them or not. This gives me the impression of a “We’re all in this together.” vibe which I see very rarely elsewhere.

And why is it that I don’t see or sense this kind of community elsewhere? Why are we (and I mean the general societal we) so afraid to help other people? Is it because we fear that no one will help us when we need it? Is it because we, as human beings, are selfish in general? Is it because we’re so worried about providing for our families that we don’t think we can? I think it’s all of these things, and I know for me, I don’t want to be selfish. I want to be willing to help other people with just a smile and encouraging word if I can do nothing else.  If we could all do this, I believe we could improve our corner of the world immensely.

Until next time, be real!