Community Pulls Together

I was watching the Ken Burns special, “Jazz,” last night. In one scene a black musician described how they survived on the road in a mostly white band. Of course they were barred from any decent treatment, no motel room, no restaurant service. But they survived, how?

As the black band member described, when they arrived in a new town, one of their wives immediately went into the community to chat with the local wives. By the time the stage was set up for their gig that night, she was back with a basket of fried chicken, some potato salad, and room assignments for everyone all over town. Everyone was fed, everyone was sheltered.

Community shows up closer to home for me. When my step-dad passed away and Mom was left alone, she first requested that no one ask her what’s next until after a year had passed. When the year was up, she decided to return to her hometown near Lafayette, LA. But, even after selling the place she had been living for the past 25 years, it wasn’t enough to purchase a home where she really wanted to live.

So, the community stepped in. I’m from a huge family: 4 older brothers, 4 older sisters, and 4 younger sisters. Six of my siblings pooled their funds, created a corporation in Louisiana named Maison a’ Mom, and bought the home for her. Mom was caretaker of that home till her death 10 years later. After she passed, the home was sold, the corporation dissolved, and everyone had a return on their investment.

You know, change is hard, and it’s harder when you go it alone. Those black jazz musicians were changing the face of musical vibrancy and creativity, but how long could they have lasted without a social network to support them? How could my mother have lived a peaceful life in a place she wanted if my siblings hadn’t heard her needs.

When you are facing change, sometimes it’s hard to find someone that is willing to listen. In the Fireside Circles, you will experience sharing with a small group that is intent on hearing, truly hearing, what you need to say. And you will share that gift by listening to other’s experience of change.

Community can create a softer cushion when you’re smacked against unchangeable circumstances, and it can offer suggestions of resources that would have taken years to track down on your own.

And when you really need it, community pulls together.

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