A community is defined as a group of people living in the same place. It is also defined as groups of people who have things in common. We are members of several communities. I can think of several I belong to, my Isshinryu community, my church community, my workplace community, and my hiking community are just a few I invest my time and energies into. I bet you can name several you are invested in.

We are social animals and we do better when we engage in our communities. One of the things brought to relevance with the pandemic has been the importance of our communities to each of us as individuals. Lockdowns and forced isolation actually caused many of us to take a long hard look at our priorities. Some of us looked out our window and realized we didn’t really ‘know’ our neighbors and we decided to do something about it.

I have always worked a job and engaged in hobbies and activities that kept me very busy. I knew my neighbor’s names and would wave at them going up and down the driveway in our rural community. Over the past year or so, I have slowed down and taken time to have actual conversations with my neighbors. I have stopped being so focused on being so busy and I have tried to bring my priorities in line with what is really important. Life is a linear journey, we cannot go back and do over the things that are already done. We must embrace the present and change directions if we are not happy with where we are going.

A community is stronger than an individual. We seek like-minded souls to commune with. It is important to support what supports you. Our near future is going to depend greatly on what kind of a community we find ourselves in.

The Neanderthals tended to live in small family groups and didn’t appear to interact with one another regularly. They came together to exchange goods and coordinate group hunts and portion out the meat. They were only as successful as their community. Many fossil records indicate that traumatic injuries were very common with some adult fossils having evidence of multiple healed fractures. Without a strong community with a cohesive goal of survival, these injuries would have been catastrophic for the individuals.

Today, it would behoove us to consider our communities. Making efforts to step up and engage our neighbors might make the difference in how well we are able to survive. Supporting local farmers and small businesses as they try to rebound from the catastrophic effects of the lockdowns might be what separates a thriving community from one that does not do so well. Involving ourselves in community activities like local elections and school board meetings will steer our localities forward. Our future is going to depend more on our communities than what is playing out on the National stage.

We are becoming a divided nation as the political landscape polarizes the nation and seeks to define us often without our consent. When the tensions reach a certain point things will happen that will force us to take a stand. It will be much better for us if we are surrounded by our neighbors when that time comes.

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