There are small pockets of community everywhere. People cling to ‘community’ whether they realize it or not. It may be a yoga community, a religious community, an arts community or anything else that we relate to or feel connected to.

We all need to feel that we belong and so we gravitate towards other like-minded individuals. It’s great to exchange ideas with people that feel the same way as we do – there’s a sense of security in that. However, the kind of community that I’m thinking about draws deeper into the reason I believe we all have this craving to belong. There was a time and place in which the words ‘family’ and ‘community’ could have been interchangeable. Whether or not you were related made absolutely no difference. The entire community was filled with your aunties, uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers. Everyone took care of everyone regardless of bloodline, because everyone was family.

So in a time where we have our small pockets of communities based on similarities, the deeper question is:

Why can’t we be an entire community in spite of our differences?

Is it possible that we could all trust and protect, learn and grow and join as one big community? Isn’t it true that we’ve learned the most about ourselves and the world around us from people that were different from us? People with different viewpoints? People with various backgrounds?

We used to be communities based on survival and so various personality types had to find a way to make it work – maybe that’s how we grew stronger as people. We learned from each other. Everyone has special talents and gifts they were born with. No two people are the same. I believe we can balance each other and teach each other because of those differences. Maybe that’s what ensured our survival as a species?

One of the most amazing leaders of our time was Martin Luther King Jr. He understood this need for reconnection of community, and joining together because of our differences.

But the end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love which will bring about miracles in the hearts of men. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 24, 2012

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