The Meaning of Community

handshakeI have been thinking a lot recently about what it means to be a community. Our little community here by the river is more than the sum of its parts. In other words, we are more than 125 individuals living under one roof.  Yet, it is hard to capture what we are in words. Community is a pretty generic term. The broadest definition that I found said, “people with common interests living in a geographic area.”

I have heard people here say, “We are family,” and happily they are including Homewoods staff when they say this. Family gets closer to what we mean to each other, and yet, strictly speaking, we aren’t family.   Miraculously, we care for each other and help each other though we aren’t related.

Neighbors might be a closer description, especially in the “good Samaritan” sense of that word. I am always touched to learn or observe some of the many ways that neighbors here at Homewoods connect with each other. It is both respectful and sincere. Sometimes I wish we could bottle that good will and share it with the world.

And that is the reason I have been thinking about what it means to live in community lately. I think capital “C” community has broad implications for the world in general. I read somewhere recently that the Chinese philosopher Confucius based his whole philosophy of leadership and governance on the principal of kindness. It is definitely one of our core values here at Homewoods.

Another core value is recreation. In other words, having fun. We had so much fun during resident appreciation week. The performances at the talent show went from the sublime piano playing by Dorothy and Iris to the silliness of Don and the Donnettes, and Don and Dar, as well as the comedic performances in Velma’s play. I can’t remember when I have laughed so much.

I am already looking forward to next year’s talent show, as well as many more “gifts” during the work weeks to come when I hear someone reach out to another with sincere kindness, if only to encourage through a difficult time.

We are living well.

photo by: buddawiggi