I sat in a local coffee shop for several hours while on vacation. It was buzzing with activity and conversations, yet was a relaxing place to sit in a comfortable chair, with a delicious Mexican hot chocolate and a good book, especially on a crisp, drizzly day.
I was distracted several times by the people and conversations around me. A significant building project was at the forefront of many people’s minds. How could they help some of their neighbors? How would some businesses be impacted? How could they work with community leaders, and in some cases, oppose them, in order to voice important points and concerns?
In one corner, a young woman met with a local service organization to help them learn about social media and marketing. At another table, someone advised a friend regarding a technology purchase. Someone introduced a friend to a passerby, connecting two people with a common interest.
To be honest, the buzz of activity and conversations was a bit distracting at times. I assumed I would be surrounded by other vacationers, but this was the local coffee shop, filled with…locals, obviously. I didn’t get as much reading done as I had planned, but I got something better: a reminder of the rich complexities and importance of community.
I sat among a community of people focused on community. I wasn’t a part of their community, but nonetheless, I learned from it. I soaked in it long enough to appreciation my own community a bit more.
Are you engaged in your community? How authentically? What does your involvement reveal about your appreciation of the give-and-take of community involvement?