August 9    

Today's quotation:

All of us, at some time or other, need help.  Whether we're giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world.  That's one of the things that connects us as neighbors-- in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.

Fred Rogers
The World According to Mr. Rogers

Today's Meditation:

Somehow over the last few decades, we seem to be losing the sense of community that helps to define us as human beings.  It isn't happening everywhere, but it seems to be happening in many, many places-- and it's a shame.  We used to thrive as members of a community, sharing friendship, caring, helpfulness, and just our presence.  Now, though, such sharing isn't as common as it used to be, and we're losing a lot of the goodness of life because of this loss.

It's easy to point fingers:  it's the cell phones, or it's the violence, or it's the greed or prejudice or hatred or politics.  But aren't these things symptoms rather than diseases?  Some people almost never take part in community because they spend their free time in front of the television-- is that the TV's fault, or is the need to watch programs a symptom of something else, some sort of fear, perhaps?  Whatever the reason, it's important for us to keep in mind that the fact that our society doesn't seem to value community as much as it used to doesn't mean that we have to follow suit.

It's important that no matter how difficult it may be, we have to do our best to value and seek out community and connection on our own.  It's for our good and the good of others.  And on a personal level, if we keep our focus on others and their needs and do our best to fulfill needs when we see them, we can contribute not just to an individual's well-being, but to a sense of community, of neighbor helping neighbor, friend helping friend, stranger helping stranger.

It gets very frustrating living in a world in which community seems to be weakening day by day, but we can fight the trend in our own small ways, in our own small world.  One day we'll realize what we've been losing and we'll seek to regain it; it will be nice to be ahead of the curve then, already giving to others as a true community member will do.  And then we can help others to do the same.

Questions to consider:

Why do we focus so much less on community these days, and so much more on individual needs?

What are some of the benefits of being part of and contributing to a community?

What have you done recently to contribute to one of the communities of which you're a part?  What can you do today or tomorrow?
For further thought:

It is the individual who is not interested in his or her fellow people who has the greatest difficulties in life and and provides the greatest injury to others.  It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.

Alfred Adler

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