Whether it’s your family, your friends, your neighborhood, or whatever group of people united by something you can think of, we’re all members of communities both large and small. During this Thanksgiving break home, I did a lot of thinking about all the different communities I belong to.
Communities are a very important part of our lives. I believe they’re a pretty large part of our motivation to do basically anything. I can’t think of a single job that isn’t based around answering a community need, even if it’s really kind of a small need. When you do something for a friend, that’s doing something for your community, just on a small scale. Even if you do something that benefits you most of all, chances are if it makes you happy it makes somebody else happy too. Communities also make us feel validated and accepted, which is a pretty big deal. For proof on that, just look at what it feels like to be disconnected from a community you want to be a part of. Feeling included can be such a major impact on our way of thinking, and it happens on the community level.
I count myself lucky to consider myself a part of many communities. A major one of them is the Marist community, one that I’m incredibly grateful to count myself a part of. The Marist community taught me so many different lessons. I joined it during a time in my life where my identity was really beginning to take shape. A lot of the values that I saw in the Marist community, especially the values I’ve seen from Marists at Esopus, are values that I still hold today. It’s a community where I see a lot of people who genuinely care, and it’s inspired me a lot. A big genuine thank you to all the Marists I’ve met, both brothers and lay people. You’ve been a major part of my experience and I don’t know if I’ll be able to ever pay it back fully.
We count ourselves among a lot of different kinds of communities. It’s important to remember though that communities don’t belong to us, we belong to them. We can try to change and impact and influence our communities all we want, but usually they influence us more. Working with and for a community can be a really validating experience. I hope you can find communities that you feel a sense of belonging in, and that those communities have been able to impact you the way the Marists have impacted me.