What is your sense of community?
Living in a community takes on many different definitions depending upon your view. The traditional meanings include family, neighborhood, church/religion, school, organization, ethnicity, city, county, state, and country.
The news is full of serious events impacting communities of all kinds. My question today is how well connected are you to your communities?
Over the Memorial weekend, the county where I live, was hit with historic flooding from the Brazos River in southeast Texas, just outside of Houston. Thousands of square miles were flooded by the river as it crested to an all-time high of almost 55 feet.
The community went into disaster recovery mode. First there were evacuations of lowlands. Cattle and livestock had to be relocated. Business was interrupted. Those of us not immediately threatened by water in our homes were restricted on where we could drive. A major railroad bridge was severely damaged. Houses were destroyed. Lives were changed forevermore. Amazingly there were no fatalities, thank God!
The response within the community was heroic. The usual government agencies, both local and statewide were mobilized. Support systems were placed on high alert with everything functioning amazingly well given the fact that no one had ever experienced a disaster of this magnitude.
Social media lit up with reports and citings, lists of closings and road hazards. The response was overwhelming.
People who could, did. While the Red Cross was establishing its shelters, regular neighbors simply banded together to deliver support in any way they could. There were food trucks, BBQ grills and smokers fired up, and lots of meals got served to the emergency responders and those temporarily homeless. Dry goods and supplies were donated at adhoc collection centers. Good Samaritans were everywhere.
Why do I share this?
First, it makes me very proud to live where I do. I know, reports are widespread, that many other communities across this country and around the globe work this way too. So I know my group is not especially unique, but you just cannot realize the significance of this kind of community until a need arises.
Second, it makes me sad to think about people who have isolated themselves socially and physically in such a way that they have no connection to a community of any size. All I can think to do is pray for them wherever they may be.
Third, you will be blessed. There is nothing so rewarding as climbing out of your comfort zone and reaching beyond yourself to help someone else. While most people who volunteer do not do it for personal gain, they will tell you that when the event is over, they are happy they helped. If you are in a flat or even downward spiral in your own life right now, look for a small way you can do something for someone else. I promise, it will warm your heart.
Lastly, I am reminded of the call to service we all carry. I believe we are all meant to come together as a community when serious need of any sort comes up. It is by caring and sharing that we exhibit the finest quality within the human spirit.
How is your community?
Have you taken an accounting of your communities? Are there needs right now, today, where you can do something to help. It has been proven that even the smallest generosity whether it is time or material, can make a huge difference.
Frequently, I am asked by my coaching clients “How do I know my life’s purpose?” My answer is to look around right now.
[shareable cite=”Doug Thorpe”]If you see a place where you can make a difference, that, my friend, is your #purpose.[/shareable]
Just as this article was being finalized for publication, the tragic news of the senseless shootings in Orlando were announced. Having lived and worked in Orlando for a brief period, I have my own sense of community there too. Minds cannot comprehend the brutality and horror that has been described. That community and our nation mourns. I have no political agenda here. My blog is a safe place, void of slanted rhetoric about this issue or that. I’ll leave those discussions to others.
But I find an irony in my heart to have decided to write about community; right before this horrific act took place. I pray that all of the communities that are being impacted by the Orlando massacre will find solace with one another, following the exact principles I have mentioned here. I wasn’t looking for another example to discuss. Yet Orlando happened. Pray with me. Pray for the families. Pray for America.
[reminder]Please share your views of being a part of a community.[/reminder]