Today I woke up to a winter wonderland. A world covered in a beautiful white sparkly blanket with big fat snowflakes slowly falling from the sky. Yes, I am one of those weird people that love snow but I also saw beauty in a less physically appealing way and more of a heart warming beauty. I saw community.
I saw and felt two beautiful moments of community in the past 24 hours and couldn’t not share! Although this snow covered world was beautiful in my eyes for others it caused a lot of stress as they tried to drive through mounds of snow. As I looked out the window I saw community – strangers coming together to help each other get their vehicles unstuck, and helping each other shovel their driveways. In those moments we couldn’t just be individuals going about our own day, we needed each other. Those neighbours who otherwise didn’t say much to each other were now working side by side for a common goal.
Since we couldn’t get our car out of the driveway and down the road we walked our children to daycare. As we are trucking through knee-deep snow a lady pulls over rolls down her window and offers us a ride. We politely decline stating that we don’t have car seats. She responds saying that she has some in her car as she has children our children’s ages. Community – strangers coming together in love and care!
The second moment of community occurred on Sunday night at my local downtown church. We have potluck Sunday on the first Sunday of every month. My church is somewhat unique in that we specifically welcome the poor and broken. Picture a room full of people eating together, escaping the bitter cold night to participate in fellowship. Now if you look closer….you will notice those individuals are seniors, adults, youth, and children. They are middle-class, working poor, and homeless coming together as community, all participating in their own way. All are invited. All are welcome. We cook together, eat together, share together, and clean together. We need each other.
“You don’t understand the insurmountable power of community, until you are a part of one”
In most developed countries we have adopted this worldview that we are individuals who rise to the top on our own accord or who fall to “rock bottom” and are alone. We don’t think we need each other but that we chose to engage in the relationships we ‘feel like’. The sad thing is, we are so engrained to think of ourselves as individuals we can’t even understand or picture the beauty and depth of what it would look like to fully live in community, as an important part of a community. It doesn’t surprise me that these countries are the same ones who are battling high stats of mental illness, and those with poor mental health. We isolate! The most important factor in finding healing, creating positive mental health, and experiencing joy is whether or not you are a part of a community. Do you have a group (whether large or small) of people who love and support you? Someone you can call when you get stuck in the snow? A group of people to share a meal with? If the answer is no…find it! Create it!
There are many frustrating and negative things about social media and the internet, however one of the positives is that you can find people, groups with similar interests. But don’t stop there you need real people, use the internet as a tool then join local! Look up activities happening in your city and join! Look up ways to volunteer, and get involved!
If you are struggling with mental health, mental illness, loneliness, or separation from family then I encourage you to find a community, they are out there. Yes, it may take some effort and stepping out of your comfort zone – it will be worth it. We need each other!
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