Soundtrack in my head: The Guess Who, “Share the Land”
I procrastinated on writing part three of this subject. (Parts 1 and 2 were the first two posts in this blog.) At first, I think the intent was dramatic pause but that simply gave way to procrastination. Part of the struggle was in writing an answer to the rhetorical question asking “What’s a 21st century middle-aged American to do” about fostering a sense of community?
First of all, truth be told, plenty of Americans have community in their lives. Plenty of people have a tight circle of friends and family they can lean on at any time. But I think it’s harder to foster that than it used to be. Many people want such a tight circle but struggle to bring it in their lives. A lot of times people, particularly parents, are too busy to really let other people into their lives. Others are perfectly content to live in their own cocoons–either with a spouse, a family, or by themselves.
I’d mentioned before that I’d participated in the Global Walk for a Livable World and I have a page about it on this website. We became a mobile intentional community that could not help but be around each other all the time. We ended up being a very tight-knit bunch of people, to the extent that even those on the Walk that I wasn’t very close to still ended up feeling like a part of me. When we found each other on Facebook it’s as if no time had passed between the end of the Walk and the present, and that felt especially true when we had our twenty-year reunion in Colorado.
So, okay, some answers, right? That we live out of tents? No, but intentional community? That has the potential for some real answers. Of course putting a bunch of people together in a house or on a piece of land might not automatically result in community, a feeling of connectedness with others. It would still be easy for people to retreat into their own cocoons. Furthermore, living together in community takes skills that not everyone has developed well.
I’ve lived eleven years of my life in community, nearly one-fourth of my life. I’ve been living in co-op houses for the past 9 1/2 years. I can say that a lot of times I’ve felt a strong sense of connectedness. Other times the connectedness was weak, and there were a few instances where it was downright dysfunctional. I think community is something to strive for, and I believe that there will come a time where it will be critical to our well-being. I don’t think that day is too far away…
- A Communitarian Conundrum: Why a World That Wants and Needs Community Doesn’t Get It – Communities Magazine (simpleunhookedliving.wordpress.com)