Friday, September 30, 2011

Where do you find community?

I am an introvert living on a suburban side street, penned in by two major crossroads. It would be absurdly easy to avoid community. Thankfully, I derive just enough pleasure from the company of people outside my family that I've made the effort. Currently, I have three major communities in which I belong, despite living a somewhat isolated life. (Plus you in the blogosphere, of course!)

1. Our church. People joining our church and, more humorously, long-time members assume my husband and I have been parishioners for at least five years. In fact, this month marked our third anniversary of registration. When we registered, though, we wanted to actually join, not just attend. Between the two of us, we have participated in RCIA, Sunday school, youth group, CYO basketball, Angel Care, pastoral council, and worship team. We perform in the annual talent show and attend presentations. Through these, we've met a LOT of people, many of whom are at least casual friends. It's not a close-knit community, but it is enjoyable, friendly, and supportive.

2. The daily Mass crew. I attend daily Mass sporadically at our church, but generally go every week with my mom on Wednesday or Friday at her parish. People recognize Peter and me and take time to say hello and ask about his latest milestones. On Wednesdays, a group of us frequently goes to a local diner for lunch, where the waitstaff know us, too!

3. Our neighbors. I am not sure if I ever would have made overtures to my neighbors, but we are bracketed by wonderful people who have been true neighbors to us.  On one side is a family with two boys, the older of whom just started babysitting Peter for 30 minutes/week. The boys love handing down their clothes and toys to Peter. The parents have been invaluable in providing advice on lawn care, gardening, and home improvements. On the other side is the self-proclaimed "Italian Scallion", one of the original residents of this area. He loves to visit and tell stories and take pictures of us.

Growing up in an active urban neighborhood, I defined community by geography. People who lived in the Browncroft neighborhood, whom I saw at the library, CVS, and church, were my community. In college, my community was comprised of those in the same extracurriculars as I. In grad school, it was my roommate, my fiance, and my 12 classmates. It's interesting to me how my experience of community has changed over time.


  1. Really love this Liana...having that community is so important, and it's great not to be stuck in one idea of what 'community' is...we can find so many wonderful surprises that way. :)

    I also love that no matter how much our culture and society change, we all seem to continue to find ways to gravitate toward some kind of community...

  2. Glad this resonated with you. I feel about community the way many people do about being fit -- I want to BE in community, I just don't want to work to GET in community. I'm thankful that I'm surrounded by people willing to draw me out a bit. :-)