Seeking Community

That saying – funny how a day can make a difference – in Boston, days have been grey and filled with pain, but, today, bright sunshine and a clear mind… Today I met the ever-elusive human who speaks of this concept I have only dreamt about – community. I thought that he must just be throwing that word around just like everyone else I encounter.

Something, I never had

Community, what I wish for, is an empty word. I’ve tried to be a part of it and help build it. And when I became too sick, I lost anything that could remotely resemble it. I have grieved for what others experience and speak of. I have grieved for the fleeting moment of community and the little I had taken away.

All you have to do is ask for help they tell me. I feel silly, crazy, and angry because after almost five decades I am still asking for help, reaching out my hand, and still having it pushed away. One would think after the first few decades I would know better but something in me keeps saying, "ask".

They tell you to ask...

So again, I asked. I went through my list. The person I had hired to help and who could no longer be reached, the neighbors, the organizations, and the websites. I thought while I am at it why not go big and put my ask on social media if only to prove that people will step over you if you are sitting on the ground or mindlessly scroll right past you.

And then this really weird thing happened. Some on social media spread the word. A person said she would look into possible resources. Kindness was sprinkling in. And then an offer to help (which in my mind was going out of their way before or after a long day at work) because that is what it means to be part of a community. What am I supposed to do with that offer? Of course, shut it down!

It is too far out of the way, there is limited parking… and then in a moment of weakness or strength, I accepted his offer to help.

A true act of  community

That offer from a stranger was followed up with a few texts and to my surprise showing up to help. He wanted nothing in return.

I cried tears of sadness for not knowing this feeling of community more regularly. I cried tears of relief that someone helped me when I asked. I cried tears of hope praying this is not the last time I feel this type of kindness.

It sounds like I asked for an organ to keep me alive. All I asked for was help carrying a few boxes. What I received was in fact something to keep me alive – hope, faith, and community.

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