On Community

We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race.
~Cicero

Driving into the center today, I saw some sanitation workers clearing out an underpass on the highway. I’ve passed this underpass every work day for the past seven months, watching as a small group of homeless people have slowly created a community in a pile of rocks. Bags of clothes, sleeping bags, makeshift tents—all organized chaos in the midst of a busy highway, a place that people could call home, no matter how humble. In the business of the city, in the chaos of the world, they created a resting place.

It made me sad to drive by and see the depressing conditions in which my fellow human beings had to live, but it made me even sadder this morning as I watched the workers, covered head to toe in jump suits and wearing masks, shoveling up these people’s belongings and tossing them away like so much trash. And I suppose to the workers, it was trash. They were just doing their job. But still, to see a community built up and then torn down with so little consideration… it hurt my heart.

This week is our Welcoming Week at school. The children and their families trickle in, little by little, and meet one another. They form connections with the educators, the environment, other parents, other children. Slowly, carefully, we work together to build community. We learn to trust. We put ourselves, physically and emotionally, into the space and claim it as our own. We transform an institution into a place of love and learning.

As I drove in this morning, I was reminded of how fragile community can be. It doesn’t take much to break it down. And as I begin this week with these new children trusted in my care, forming relationships with them and their parents and my fellow caregivers and staff, it is my firm hope that we work together to create a community that is rooted in love and respect, and that the bonds we form are treasured and not easily torn down.

Happy and blessed beginnings to everyone who is embarking on community building in the coming weeks!

Smile