Community is a tough word to define, depending on context. The “community center” means the place designed for a geographic area. The “community of believers” generally speaks to geography in part, but also a similarity of beliefs. And then there is Community, the sitcom filled with pop culture references and Chevy Chase.
But what does it mean to have community? How does it help when our world is falling apart, or our insecurities rise up and threaten to overtake us?
The answers look a little different for everyone, but there are some commonalities – safety, common interests, vulnerability, and a willingness to give and receive support.
I have basically stumbled into a community that is a lifeline for me. We are literally just a bunch of guys who write. One of us live in Tennessee, while another lives in the UK and still another works with students in Sarajevo.
We are CPAs, journalists, government employees, and self-employed businessmen. We write about faith. We are fiction writers. We encourage others to chase their dreams.
Honestly, it might be tough to find a more difficult mix of passions and energies and focus if you tried. Yet we have community.
Talking with these dudes is one of my three favorite places on the Internet.
I won’t be judged. I will be encouraged. If I am being weak, I will be called on the carpet. I will be loved. I will be pushed to be the best writer I can be, while not judged for still being in process toward that person. More importantly, I will be pushed to be the best dude I can be. This is priceless for me, and rare in my life. I hope you have a community like this.
I mentioned three favorite places. Let me tell you a little about my other favorite places.
If you have a chronic illness of any type and don’t have a community, I invite you to consider looking into the small Facebook community called Ill But Dreaming. It exists to support those of us with chronic illness. I know there are so many of us, and we need a place to talk.
To inspire each other. To give each other courage to dream. To hope. To live.
Speaking aloud our fears can shine light into places of darkness that don’t need to be. Here, hopefully, you can be yourself WITH your diseases, rather than having to put on a brave face and smile for the world around you when all you need is for someone to give you a hug.
And the third is equally unique. I have another group that is full of safety and creativity and honesty for me. We started as a group of writers trying to encourage one another to get up at 5 am and hustle hustle hustle. Over time, we became so much more. Now we share ideas, and fears, and ask each others’ opinions on blog post titles and newsletter designs and we wonder together what could be if we jumped 150% into pursuing our dreams. All from agreeing together (and really mostly failing) to support one another in getting up way too early.