The holidays are typically a time of laughter, joy, cheer, goodwill, charity, service, and togetherness. Sometimes, however, this time of year brings out the pains and sorrow of life—and that is just as okay as the other times. I think it’s important, however, to recognize what this time of year means to everyone in our community and to celebrate it together. We are all a part of different communities: friends, church, sports, family, work, and many more. How do we place a value on these communities? What do these communities mean to us?
The Value of Community
Over the course of my adult life, I’ve come to deeply value each of my communities for their own reasons. Some of them I value based on the people that constitute them, others I value based on the knowledge or support I receive, and others I value simply because I belong.
That’s essentially what I want to focus on – the overwhelming sense of belonging. I don’t think it’s fair to assume that everyone belongs to the same type of communities, so I’d be remiss to summarize my community experiences and assume everyone shares that with me. Instead, I think it’s important to talk about the fact that no matter what type of community you belong to, you do just that – belong.
What Does it Mean to Belong?
There are several definitions of the word belong, but I want to focus on one of them:
“be rightly placed in a specified position” (Oxford).
I think it’s fair to assume that all of us are a part of one community or another, and we fit in differently in each one of them. I know that, for me, when I am first welcomed into a group of friends, colleagues, religious circles, etc. I feel a sense of belonging. I feel as though I am close, I am near, and I am inseparable. Even though I may have my bad days with said group, or family, I still have that internal sense of togetherness. I think that it’s just that – togetherness, closeness, etc., that is most important to remember when we think about our place in a community.
We often get tied up in the joys, pains, sorrows, and celebrations within our different communities, and we forget about the simplistic essence of belonging to them. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, we know that the small wins and losses is not what truly matters—what truly matters is the fact that you were welcomed in with open arms, you experienced life together, and you simply belonged to them. They were made better because of your intimacy, and so were you.
So, I encourage you to take time to recognize your belonging this holiday season within each and every one of your communities; who knows, you might find out something you didn’t know by just sitting back and being together as one.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Traust!