February 22, 2010

Some Monday Morning Sappy-Sap; Friends and Community.

It is only recently that I have learned the value of community.  

community |kəˈmyoōnitē| 
noun ( pl. -ties)
a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals : the sense of community that organized religion can provide.

A group of individuals continually making me a better person, challenging me, lifting me up and putting me in my place.  Friends I can call upon anytime of day, for any reason.

friend |frend|
a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.

Bend has been my home for the last three and a half years, but the feeling of community, a group of friends, people with whom to share stories and meals and trails, has come more recently.  

As a kindergartner, it is easy to make friends.  No one knows better.  You laugh and play and hug each other because that is what you do with new friends, people you first laid eyes on moment before.

As we grow older, the whole “making new friends” grows difficult.  

We become more self-conscious and less care-free.  The need for acceptance is often overshadowed with hesitation and timidness.  

But perhaps “we” isn’t the correct pro-noun.  Perhaps “I” would be more appropriate.

As an adult, I have struggled with making friends.  I have been timid and shy and reluctant to reach out to others, in fear of rejection.  I shoved off the idea and the importance of community; until I fell in love with Mr. Community himself.

Lighting him and and drawing out the best in him, Ben loves to surround himself with good friends; comrades in the journey of life, souls that force him to challenge himself. 

I am a slow learner; a reluctant student in the course of community.  Ben has been patient.  After five years of observation and study, I finally figured it out. A simple realization that is still coming to fruition, but strengthening with each passing day. 

Just be yourself and love the people around you.  (Sounds pretty cliché, doesn't it?)  

Allowing the insecurities and expectations melt around me, the walls of defense crumble.  The sun shines upon my face, warming my heart and bringing forth a smile.  I see the people who surround me; my friends, my community.  Faces of love and support, excitement and motivation, encouragement and inspiration.   

Not only do I live the most fabulous place, I also have the most fabulous friends.  You know who you are and I hope you realize how much I cherish you.

Sorry for all the sappy-sap, but sometimes if is important to reflect on what makes you tick, what makes you whole and what makes you smile.