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What Community Means to Me

- By Sarah McLean

When stacey asked me to do this, i was a kinda nervous. well, actually, really nervous.

I’m not really good at speaking and explaining how I feel but I’m gonna give it my best shot so bear with me.

So the topic I was asked to speak about is "What community means to me".

So breaking down the word, you have comm, which means with or together. and unity, which is the state of being united and joined as a whole.

So first, I thought about “what makes a community” and at first I thought “Oh well it’s a group of people. But then I changed my mind. You can be apart of a group of people without being a part of a community.

It’s the togetherness.

The unity.

The being joined as a whole, that makes all the difference.

See, I don’t necessarily see community as a place or a thing or a person. I see it as a feeling that you get from togetherness. The feeling of home and gratitude and trust and support and unconditional love, all rolled into one.

It’s knowing that even if you fail. you still have a place. Even if you mess up or lose. There is this feeling that your community will always have your back. There are these people that have your back. I only had the courage to do this because the small spark inside of me was ignited by you guys and I know that I could say all the wrong words and I could forget everything and I could make a fool out of myself. But even if all of this happens, you will still accept me. you have my back. and because of you guys, I believe in myself

My grandma always used the phrase “we will make room”. If we were at a hockey game and it was getting crowded, no worries. “We will make room.” If we were having a family dinner and it was a little cramped. "We will make room". No matter the time, or the day. no matter the distance, or disconnect. No matter the brokenness. There’s room at the table. And if more people arrive, we will make the table bigger, or we will bring in more chairs. or...screw the table, we will sit on the floor. Because none of it matters as long as we are together. We will reconnect. We will help you up. we will take you as you are, because togetherness is the foundation of love.

Community is a structure.

It’s both something to build off of and a cushion to fall back onto.

So, I guess what i’m trying to say is, no matter how far you wander. no matter how lost you think you are. All traces lead back to here.

And by here I don’t mean Noronto or the grounds itself, but I mean the people, the feeling.

If you take away the chapel and the dining hall and the grounds and all of this. what do you have left?

Community. Sanctuary. Togetherness. You have people to reignite your spark, no matter how small it is.

There’s always room for you.

We will make room for you because that is what a community does.

The second I walked in here, it already felt like home. because you guys made room for me. you pulled up a chair for me.

And that to me, is community.