pictured: some of my church community making apple cider together at a member's home - an event they sold at the church auction to raise funds for the church.
I love my community: my church community and the larger community that I live in. I enjoy seeing people I know everywhere I go, stopping to chat, knowing folks and being a small part of their lives. But most of all, I enjoy participating in the life of the community - in events, in work, and in all the other things that are part of our shared lives together.
For the most part, I find that being part of the community in this way requires that we actually leave our own little homes and go out and show up for stuff. That's about it. I've read several book recently that seemed to suggest that in this day and age you will have to build your community from scratch. Naw - you might feel moved to add another option to those already out there but really, community is already available to you.
- If you have kids in a school, volunteer there. Show up for things.
- Join a church, and then do more than just attend Sunday mornings. Jump right in with both feet!
- Join your neighborhood association. Go to association meetings. Especially volunteer to help with block parties of any kind.
- Become a "regular". Go to the same restaurant over and over again. Be like clockwork with your errands so that the librarian is expecting you on Friday morning.
- Join the YMCA, and attend the exercise classes and get your kids involved in sports. Volunteer to coach!
- Support community theater and the arts and buy tickets to lots of shows.
- Attend as many community festivals and events as you can fit in your calendar. Better yet, join in - be in the parade or volunteer to help with the watershed festival.
- Find another organization to volunteer for: meals on wheels, big brothers/big sisters, etc.
- Even if you don't have kids in school, volunteer there. Be a lunch buddy or a reading buddy.
Sure, all this takes time. You don't have to do it all. And don't expect to make best friends everywhere you go. Good friends are different from community - something that took me a long time to realize. You need a few good friends. You need a lot of community.