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What makes community?

I am working on a list of things (because I don’t have enough to keep me occupied, CLEARLY) that I think about community.  But if you’ve spent much time with me processing through ideas, you know that i can think myself in circles often and especially when I think alone.  So I force myself into community and to process those thoughts with people, because somewhere, I know that’s what I need.  

Thus this post.  
What makes community?   
Why do we feel an insatiable pull toward being deeply known and still loved by others?  
What holds us back from fully investing? 
What does it look like to fail at doing/being community?  
What are the really difficult, almost impossible points where we want to walk away?  
When we “Succeed” at doing/being community, what does that look like?  
How much do we explain of ourselves in the beginning (so they understand our freak-outs) and how much do we let them find out with time?   
Are there formulas?  Should there be?
Collecting thoughts (full-bodied or fragmented), insights, stories, more questions.  And will continue to come back to these questions over the next several months, so… well… just know that this is beginning a conversation.  
Share your stories, thoughts and insights and questions and whatevers… and if they’re too much to put on here, then send them to me or let’s make a coffee date or a skype date or whatever.  i really, really wanna know what other people (and you, in particular) think about it.   

5 Comments

  1. Thanks Carolyn… i want answers, too.

    For me, an hour ago, community meant pushing aside my own desire to unwind from my week slowly and quietly and peacefully, and ask my dad how his last few days were. And actually listen, and affirm and actively participate in the conversation because I know how he needs to talk things out before he can put them to rest.

    Have you ever seen a picture of what community looks like done well or poorly? am thinking perhaps what i need is to make a mental collage…

  2. Community is where others needs come before oneself; and there is a confidence that it goes both ways. Community is where people are accepted for who they are (good and bad), but often people are deterred because they Fear Rejection. Community is work with life changing results; but it takes putting in the work (hard for so many).
    Community is giving and means no one is without.

  3. Hey Mel, I’m here to add my two cents 🙂 I think something crucial in community is that it’s a space where people are close enough to see their true character come out (i.e. close enough to annoy each other). It’s the closeness of the day-to-day stuff or friendships that dig up our true characters and reveal the ugly that needs to be shown grace and sharpened by others.

    So to answer just one of your questions, I think failing at community would be having shallow relationships where people don’t get to know each other on that level. Where individualism is valued higher than supporting one another.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts Mel!

  4. I have a clear image in my mind, and a clear emotional memory, of what community is. But how to achieve it and cultivate it…that’s the tricky part.

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