Inclusion in Community

We all desire to be included by others. But sometimes, it is more difficult than intended.

Two summers ago, I had just graduated college. On the surface, everything seemed to be going great as I had just graduated magna cum laude, and had an internship lined up that was on the same trajectory as my career. Even though there were many aspects of that summer that were very enjoyable, it was one of the least satisfying summers of my life.

I went to college with the intent of being narrowly-focused on my career as a sportscaster. But as time progressed, I quickly realized that there was more to my college experience than the degree. I was challenged to grow deeper in my intellect and my faith, and have a more full understanding of the world than I was allowing myself to have prior. My fondest memories of college are with the community that I developed there.

Community is something that we are all striving for. It is something that binds us together as we were created to enjoy each other’s company. In 2019, we can connect with people remotely more than we ever did before.

Lori Gosselin wrote the book Sounding the Drum: Community Building in the Digital Age. In this work, she mentions early on that “We yearn for community because it represents to us a feeling of belonging. We seek connection with others because we are social beings. . . . Community is the hope for the human race: This is a movement of hope.”

She later adds, “Community will lead us to discovery of the answers we desperately need personally– and globally. . . . In community we find the greatest joys life has to offer. In community, we discover the true power to change the world.”

Community also gives us a line of support. Gosselin mentions in her book that community “saved her life” when her young adult son passed. Having a group of people that support you in the good times, and in the bad can be vital to our mental health for overcoming struggles and celebrating successes.

So if we are not in community, how can we become part of one? Well, it is easier than it sounds, but there are numerous ways to get involved. But one of the best ways is finding something you enjoy doing, and joining already established groups that do the activity you desire. This could include joining a local softball league, or joining the community theater. Also, meetup.com can be a utilization to connect people.

Many communities may have local adults social activities or gatherings. It is not uncommon in larger municipalities for there to be organized adult hangouts that are designed for people to meet. Also, local church groups have communities geared towards gender and age groups.

After my summer internship in 2017 and I settled into employment, I made it a personal mission of mine to get involved in local community. I was able to join a church group and played softball and basketball nearby. Some activities I enjoyed more than others, as I tried numerous groups and activities until I could find a sustainable routine schedule that fits my needs. Even two years afterwards, I am still altering my weekly community routine, and that’s ok!

If you currently are not part of a community, i’d highly recommend you doing so. It can certainly enhance your life in numerous ways!

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