Sunday, May 11, 2008

Community in the Face of Tragedy

Occasionally, amidst the silliness and the joyful photo posting, I'm prone to turn to serious thoughts. Our small community recently lost two beloved members in a tragic wreck. Hundreds turned out to pay their respects ...standing in line for hours just to share a hug, a kind word, a prayer with the grieving families.

Having always lived in the South, I sometimes don't think too much about the way we rally around a family during a time of loss. I just assume that the rituals are the same everywhere (at least, until I'm reminded that they're different in other places). I take for granted that people will materialize with platters of food--enough for an army; that folks will come and just sit a spell with those left behind, sometimes sharing a tender memory, a laugh, or maybe remaining silent and simply being there.

There are times I think about what it means to be a part of a community. I wonder if those who grow up in big cities have that same sense of connectedness to a smaller group of people...a connectedness that is very much tied to a locale, a collective history. When I was younger I never thought of these things. Surely the immortal youth are immune to such musings...thoughts that come with time and realizations of mortality. I never understood that some day it might mean so much to me just to be able to take part in these stand together.

And while this may seem an odd segue to some, today is a day to celebrate community within the smallest circle--the family--centered around Mom. I believe (no disrespect to Dads intended!) that Moms are the ones who lay the foundation for our sense of community. They lead us by example through the complex world of social expectations and instill in us (even us late bloomers!) our sense of connectedness. So to my Mom and all you Moms out there: THANKS!

1 comment:

Lythrum said...

A sense of community is something that I miss. Since I moved around so much, both when I was younger and when I was in the military (and since then too) we haven't ever really been plugged into a community. Now we live in a subdivision with other thirtysomething professionals that are transient too, and it just has a generic feeling to it. And now that we live in a large-ish place it makes it harder. I definately think that mothers do have a special place in building the heart of a family, and not just because I am one and biased. :)