Do We Crave Community?
Recently, I came across an excellent article, “Our Forgotten Craving for Community”. The article points out, “for most of our time on this planet (by which one really means, for 99% of homo sapiens’s evolutionary existence), we lived in communities.”
The article’s opening words tug at your heartstrings, “We are, a lot of us, a great deal sadder, more anxious, more incomplete and more restless than we really need to be because of something very large that is missing from our lives…What we long for and are slowly dying without is: community.”
The essential message of the article: we need community.
The Wonder of Community
What we call community is based on our perception of the communities of the past, but community itself is evolving, keeping pace with human evolution. Read: community is much more wonderful today than we could have imagined it could be.
And before we’ve had an experience of belonging to such a community, how do we even know what’s possible? We don’t. It’s like believing homemade grape jelly is as good as it gets. Spoiler alert: it’s not.
Homemade Grape Jelly vs Homemade Grape Jam
Wherever I’ve lived I’ve always had grapevines growing in my yard. Late in the fall, I would sit at the kitchen table on a crisp Saturday morning purpling my fingers as I popped bunches of grapes off their stems and into a large bowl. By the end of the day, my kitchen purple and sticky, I would be tired yet smiling contentedly as I surveyed jars of jewel-toned grape jelly lined up on my dining room table.
For years, I used the recipe for grape jelly included in the Certo package. Then one day my neighbour shared a recipe with me that she had saved from the old Certo package – a recipe for grape jam.
The recipe for grape jam includes the skins and pulp – not just the juice. This results in a delicious lumpy jam, packed with flavour. Once you’ve sampled grape jam smothered on a hot buttered toast, you won’t make grape jelly anymore.
It takes longer to make grape jam than it does to make grape jelly but it’s worth it.
This is a metaphor for community building.
Have We Become Lazy?
Why did Certo decide to leave out the recipe for grape jam and include the recipe for grape jelly in the package instead? Is it because people were no longer interested in making a recipe that involved so much work?
Similarly, why do we lack community today? Is it because we are not willing to go through the trouble to build it? Have we become lazy?
Or maybe we’re not lazy, maybe we’ve never been taught how to build authentic community. The article I mentioned concurs; “we don’t have the right concepts, experience or encouragement to help us.” No problem – I’ve got that covered. I’ll even share the recipe.
Let’s Build Communities
Community building is a life-giving process that results in the most beautiful configuration of relationships. When the people work together to build community, they enjoy a calibre of authentic connection that is rare in our world today, and, yes, something that we all crave.