Day 5: COMMUNITY (The July “I Believe…” Challenge)

by Dani Fake Webb on July 5, 2010

(If you’re new to this challenge, take a look at the intro video explaining the concept.
You can get more details on how to participate.
And click here for the daily categories.)

Today’s Category: Community and the importance of relationships

world-connect-people-community-internationalI encourage you to comment on this post about what you believe about this topic.

I believe…

…that we are not meant to be alone.
…that we are meant to be in community.
…that we cannot survive without it.
…that community is essential to a fulfilled, purposeful life.

What is community…

…family
…friends
…neighbors
counselors
…mentors
…church groups
coaches
…social media connections
…in short, other people, whatever form that takes.

What does being in community look like?

…people to laugh with.
…people to cry with.
…people to fight with.
…support through a hard transition.
…support in a crisis.
…support when striving for that big goal.
…presence. Simple presence of another to help us remember we are not alone.

What True Community is Not…

…we are not meant to be alone, but community does not require a life partner.
…it is meant to call us to grow, but it does not cause us harm.
…it calls us to more, but does not require a subjugation of self to survive.

A Personal Touch

When I lived in Denver, I was blessed with a most amazing community!Untitled-5

The girls

 

  • I had my soul mates in six very close girlfriends.
  • I had my inner circle of more friends, male and female, who were there to play with, celebrate with, get annoyed by. 😀
  • I had a whole slew of boyfriends with whom to test out that “life partner” thing.
  • I had an outer circle of dozens and dozens of people that weren’t my closest friends, but with whom there was still a connection by virtue of being in the same community.
  • I had social connection, emotional connection, intellectual connection, and spiritual connection, all through different parts of this community.
  • I had no less than 15 people to help every time I moved.
  • Though I lived alone, I had no less than 10 willing men to call to help me fix the water leak (or something).
  • I had plenty of people I could call at 2:00am when I thought there was a ghost in my house (don’t ask!).
  • Easter, Thanksgiving, Birthdays…I had people that I wanted to be with to celebrate these occasions.

I have thousands of memories of the beauty of this Denver community, but none as vivid as when tragedy struck.

It happened twice. First, when one of our friends was in a car accident and paralyzed. I have never in my life seen a community rally around this man and his girlfriend (later to be his wife). Support, prayer, money, hospital visits, food, scheduled times for helping him eat and do exercises. It was a tragedy that was made somehow better by the presence of community.

BeccaThe second time hit much closer to home. One of my closest friends (one of the six mentioned above) was hit by a drunk driver. She was a pedestrian, and she and her two children (ages 2 and 4) were killed. This was a tragedy that impacted more than just our immediate group. The entire community of Denver came together in shock and mourning, strangers reminding each other to hug their loved ones, to remember what really matters in life, to encourage each other not to drink and drive.

In our immediate community, the grief was profound. But we are all in it together. The experience of her death gave me a gift like no other – I experienced at a soul level what it really means to live in community. The shared pain and grief. The shared sense of outrage. The shared sense of powerlessness. The sharing of memories and laughter. The shared remembering of the beauty of her life.

The sharing.

I always knew that my Denver community was a terrific gift…I just never knew how profound of an impact it would have in my life through the path of tragedy.

Memories of my Denver community give me hope that I can find it again. I have not found the same sense of connection in my new town of Asheville, but I know it is possible. I also know I cannot give up hope, because without community, I cannot survive. Not how I want to, anyway.

I believe that community is essential to a fulfilled, purposeful life. And I want a fulfilled, purposeful life. Therefore, I will stop telling myself that community does not exist here. I will create it. And I will not compare it to my Denver community. I will let it form organically as my Asheville community.

Because it is through community that we fully experience life.

~~~Thoughts~~~
Where is community solid and good in your life?
Where does it need some attention?
What do you really believe about the role that community plays in your life?

Until next time, may you love your life (and community) today.

Dani-Signature

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Rick Hamrick July 5, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Dani, I remember when your friend and her children were killed, and it hit me even though I had never met them. It is impossible to imagine the horror her husband must still experience, and the sadness and feelings of tremendous loss you and all of her other friends are going through.

Here is Frank Bingham’s commencement address delivered in May as he graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He was chosen by his fellow graduates to speak. http://ht.ly/27bbx

His talk is wonderfully appropriate to your chosen topic today, Dani.

Dani Fake Webb July 5, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Thanks for your words, Rick. I have seen his address – it was wonderful! Frank was my first friend in what turned out to be the best community experience of my life. He is a good man who has suffered much. May you reach out to love and embrace your community today, Rick! 😉

Renae C. July 5, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I’m recycling a post today – but that counts? right?

I have a good excuse… some of my face to face community is spending time together today!

http://is.gd/dguvj

Ellen Stoune July 5, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Community is something I am striving to build. And to understand because in an odd way, I don’t think I’ve ever had it. Recent history included a nasty divorce. It was bad. Some of it was my fault. I made bad choices. I compounded bad choices with even more bad choices. Then I spent a year just loosing my shit and trying to get it back and I did all this while trying to be a parent to my now 14 year old son. I screwed that up a lot too. And during all of this fun and excitement, I did a really good job of isolating myself. When I started emerging from the drama, I found that I didn’t have much of a community around me. Mostly because I’m a hermit. But I’m also a social butterfly. So I am building and creating and welcoming people back into my life. It’s a slow process because I am picky and I’m not very mainstream either. There are some folks who just don’t know how to take me. But I refuse to compromise who I am – that’s a non-negotiable. While I’m building my tribe of other non-mainstreamers I am noticing the levels of community and how much they are NEEDED – each level has so much to offer and take. There’s the close friendships, those people who become your family even though not a drop of blood is shared. There are outer circle people who proliferate my hobbies like biking and art making and the like. There are the satellite people who I am coming to know because I’m becoming involved in civic matters (mostly because some of our town leaders are morons and I had to speak up because JEEZ! they are about to pull some major level stupid and I want to stay in this town so I have a stake in the outcomes). And then there is this house that I am thinking of buying and all the people who orbit around that process.
So, community, to me means roots. Community means relationships. Community means connections – deep and shallow. Community means being who you are and taking responsibility for what you put out there. Community means caring and taking a stand and lending a hand. Mostly though – for me at least – it is breathing/letting in – breathing and letting out.

Laura Neff - Life Leadership Coach July 5, 2010 at 9:42 pm

Mmm, wow. These are some powerful posts. Dani, I can’t fathom what you and your community went through when your friend and her kids were killed. I just can’t imagine that. And Ellen, I love how you ended…that community is breathing/letting in and breathing/letting out. So true!

I usually rave endlessly about Community, but today I’m tired. And I’m trusting that this community we’re creating here will love me even as my tired, non-verbose self. Here’s my link. So grateful to be in the kind of community with all of you that pokes, prods, digs, thinks, and feels deeply! xoxo

http://is.gd/dgy51

Cain July 6, 2010 at 12:02 am

I believe that without Community we are alone.

I believe that having a community that you are a part of helps you to become your best self, your authentic self. I believe that I am blessed to be a part of many incredible communities.

When I think of the community that stirs me to my core, it would be the community I belonged to as a child at Eagle’s Nest Camp. This was a small community, one of multiple ages and one of both male and female gender. It was a place that would allow me to challenge myself physically, mentally and spiritually. Here, I was given the freedom to push myself climbing a multi pitch rock, paddling a river with fast moving rapids or hiking more miles with more weight than I thought I could handle. With each challenge I was greeted by people who knew me and knew better than I did that I could in fact succeed in the challenge at hand.

You know you have found an incredible community when years can go by and upon meeting up with community members it is as if no time has passed. You realize that the love, dedication and support that you felt before has always been present.

It is this exact experience that I am blessed to relieve each year as I drop my children off to spend their summers at Eagle’s Nest, as I serve on the Board of Trustees for the Eagle’s Nest Foundation and as I recreate mini reunions with old friends here in Asheville who were blessed to have had the same experiences as I was.

It is the passion that stirs me to help find ways to raise money and give other children the same experiences that I was given. I know with all my heart that even when they are alone in other parts of their lives, they will be able to draw deep into the amazing sense of community they once felt, and that they in turn will find a way to pass along the blessing they have been given.

Lana Phillips July 6, 2010 at 6:19 am

Reading your post made me feel lonely. I want the kind of community you had in Denver. It’s funny–I know a few people in Asheville, and I was surprised you lived there when I realized.

Kirk Webb July 6, 2010 at 7:04 pm

I believe that community involvement is essential to being human. We know ourselves in relationship, and community is the arena in which we raise our awareness of our dignity as well as our shadow selves. In the same way that I cannot see my own face (without the aid of a mirror), community provides that reflection so that I can engage my own maturing process.

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