While Community is a show I have come to love on NBC this year, it is also something much more. I increasingly find it to be something for which I deeply yearn. I’m not entirely sure of how to define community, but it is something that I have experienced in real and profound ways at times in my life. It is also something I have felt lacking at times in my life.
I have found myself reflecting on community quite a bit today after spending time in a small Kansas town this morning talking to hospital staff about the possibility of opening an IMS clinic there. The conversation around the table was, to a small degree, about how to make sure that the clinic was a revenue producer for the hospital. It was, to a much larger degree, about how to make a difference in the community with any program that might be implemented. The Physician at the table serves on the school wellness council and was excited about connections that could exist there. One of the nurses spoke of potential community partnerships and people she knew from her church who would be interested in something like the clinic might offer. In conversation it was clear that this was a community – people worked together, went to church together, shopped for groceries together, and generally had a greater level of investment in each other’s lives than has been my experience living in suburbia these last years.
And then I begin to reflect on my experiences growing up in a small town and remember all that was frustrating and at times felt negative about people living in such close proximity and relationship to one another on so many interconnected levels. I do yearn for community. I am also cautious about some of the frustrations that I remember from small town life. And so I continue to wonder about community, what it means, and what it would look like to truly live in such relationships with others.