The Power of “We”

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.”George Bernard Shaw

 

Meditations in MotionLast night was a perfect evening for running and our local running club took full advantage of it.

Once a week in the summertime, 50 of us (more or less) meet at a member’s house, select a run from several distance options, run or walk our selection, then gather at the host’s house for snacks, dinner, beverages, and camaraderie.

The hosts provide all the food and drinks, which I love. Under this system, I don’t have to consider what to make and bring along to the party each Tuesday. I collaborate with several other members to host once a summer, then every other week, I am simply a guest.

This week the temperature and humidity were low, the sun was out, and there was a light breeze blowing. Bill and I decided to do a longer run than our usual, so we arrived early and did the three-mile option first, then the 6.5-mile option as a bonus.

Meditations in MotionOur host even made arrangements with her Amish neighbors so that we had permission to run about a mile and a half of our course on farm lanes. These goats (or “gopes” as our grandson Henry used to call them) seemed unconcerned as dozens of runners invaded their farm.

As we gathered for fun and conversation after the run, Bill and I talked to some new members of the club. I was struck by the many different personalities who make up our group.

There are introverts and extroverts among us, experts and novices, conservatives and liberals. When picturing a runner, you may think of someone young, fast, and thin, but people of all ages, body types, and paces were represented in our crowd.

Our gathering made me think of “we“, a community.

Meditations in MotionWhen I first joined our running club, over a decade ago, I had few running friends. I often ran with a partner, but her interest in running was waning and she eventually stopped running altogether. My hubby ran a little bit, but he usually biked while I ran. I wanted to find some like-minded people for inspiration and encouragement.

Women in the running club were generous with their time, affection, and advice. It didn’t matter that I didn’t really understand at that point how to give back. They were patient with me and enveloped me into their group. They looked beyond my rough edges and went out of their way to make me feel accepted. I’ll never forget it.

I learned to listen when I wanted to be listened to, to give validation when I wanted to be validated, and to give others assistance when I wanted to be helped.

I think that’s why community is so important. We all feel lonely at times; we all need encouragement, welcome, and a sense of belonging. We need to be able to develop relationships. All of us need to feel loved.

There are communities of bloggers where I feel welcomed and listened to, and I am grateful for the relationships I have developed with those communities over the year and a half I have been blogging.

I am especially lucky because of the eclectic nature of my blog. I feel at home in the community of fitness bloggers, faith bloggers, and other writers who post on an array of topics as I do.

Meditations in Motion

In this age of “networking“, developing community becomes especially important. When we network, there is the unspoken assumption that we will receive something tangible in return from the relationships we build. A “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,” mentality emerges. What can you do for me?

Building communities is all about giving of ourselves with no implicit deal in return. Communities encourage service, generosity, and cooperation. What can I do for you?

Once we build communities, the concept of our interconnectedness becomes evident and real. We are each connected to the world and to each other in ways we understand with our hearts far better than we intuit with our minds.

Yes, you and I and your neighbor (even the crazy one who keeps a Komodo dragon for a pet) and David Hasselhoff and Jacinda Ardern (extra credit if you knew she is Prime Minister of New Zealand), we are all connected; we are all human.

Feeling connected is one of the basic ingredients we need to thrive. When we don’t have connectedness, we hurt.

Our sense of connection is internal. It doesn’t depend on how many followers we have on Twitter, or friends we have on Facebook. It depends on how we feel inside. We can work to develop it.

When we have a positive attitude, when we show empathy, when we are truly present in our conversations, and when we care about the needs of others, we are developing our sense of connection.

Each of us has our own discrete strengths and gifts, but together as a community, we are stronger than we are individually. Our connections are what make us resilient.

The Apostle Paul said it in Romans: ” For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”

 

I am linking with Fairytales and Fitness for Friday 5, Raisie Bay for Word of the Week, Amy at Live Life Well, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, Counting My Blessings for Faith ‘n Friends, and Morgan’s Milieu for Post, Comment, Love.

 

 

54 comments

  1. So true. What I love about my various interests wherever it be boating or knitting or running or tennis, are the people I’ve met who share and support these activities.

    Life would be so boring if we led it alone.

    Many people do prefer the solo route. They could run with a group but choose another day because the weather is better. If I can, I always choose company over convenience.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OUr moms running group also feels like a community to me as well. I love it when we all come together big or small for a cause or just for a run or coffee. It’s fantastic you can get 50 people to attend a run!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I see a moms’ running group meeting in the park near us often. I didn’t have that community when my kids were little, but then when I ran, I had 30 glorious minutes of alone-time – a luxury in those days!

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  3. Yes, to communities, in all shapes and sizes. Made up of so many links. Some weak. Some strong. Changing all the time. There is a kind of trust that you will be accepted. Only way to find out is to join in and try. I’ve been blogging nine years and it has changed so much even in that time. Some people will disappear suddenly and you’re left wondering. Others will ignore you. Who knows if they mean to. Most people are supportive. I have connected with so many wonderful people over the years through my blog. It’s unlikely I’d ever have met them otherwise. I have no idea how must inspiration and encouragement I’ve received, in that time. I can only hope I’ve given as much in return. I love the idea of your running community. Totally agree about the hosting once idea. I’d end up taking a tray of meringues and strawberries every week. Probably not the healthiest choice, but it is my fall back dish! Here’s to communities. #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, so true. I never thought about that trust. I do wonder about the bloggers I don’t hear from anymore. Blogging takes a lot more time and effort than I originally envisioned. I am always amazed at the connections I have formed through blogging. It’s one huge unexpected bonus. I thought blogging would be a lonely endeavor. Here’s to communities, indeed!

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  4. I love this! We all have a need to feel loved. We all have a need to feel connected. I feel like, in this internet and phone crazy world, we are losing a bit of that. Children are using Snapchat as their way to feel “connected” but are missing out on the real connection that is needed to thrive. That community. They feel that their families do not love them or understand them, but like you said, for connection to happen you have to give. I hope that there is a way to bring awareness to this, and help to show others how to make real connections! Thank you for a great post!!

    Thanks for linking up @LiveLifeWell!

    Blessings,

    Amy

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel like we are losing it too, Amy. I am lucky enough to have several communities I belong to – my church community, my running community, the blogging community…all of them are precious to me and I feel support and love from all of them! Thank you for your very kind comment.

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  5. What a lovely post. I love the sound of your running group, how wonderful to meet up with like-minded people who all enjoy the same activity. I bet you have loads to talk about too. I think the internet is great for building relationships too. I read another blog post recently about friends we only know a little that are just as valuable as those we call our ‘best’ friends. There is an importance of connecting with others.
    Thanks for linking up to #wotw

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Our running group is the best! I think we are built for connections too. One of the happiest surprises for me about blogging is the number of amazing people (like you!) whom I have met. I expected it to be a lonely endeavor, just me and my laptop. Thanks for the chance to share!

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  6. Again, so many words & thoughts well spoken 🙂 I live our community (blogging, running and otherwise) for its diversity. It’s fun seeing what each of us can bring to the table with our experiences, expectations and struggles as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yes. One of my absolute favorite selections from Romans. What good encouragement for togetherness. The differences that make us unique are not meant to separate us. Maybe God is trying to get your attention!

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  7. In all honesty, I’m guilty of the ‘what’s in it for me’ mindset. There are plenty of blogs I follow and comment on and then think ”Surely they will go and read my blog now.” And then they don’t and I am left frustrated. Regardless, I read the blogs because they are interesting and informative and leave me feeling like a better person (so I guess there really is ‘something in it for me’). I’ve tried my local running club and have found the social part too stressful to enjoy. It’s always at a bar. Maybe meeting at someone’s house would feel more relaxing and easier on my anxiety. This is a nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess I have to admit some “what’s in it for me” mindset too, especially when blogging. There is only a limited amount of hours in the day. If I really like reading a blog, I will read it, whether the writer reads my blog or not, but I think there are some blogs I read from a sense of social obligation.
      Our club meets at restaurants after the run from November to May. I like meeting at someone’s house much better. More ability to walk around and socialize, rather than sitting in one place all evening. Come over to Lancaster some Tuesday! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Like you, my blog is about many things. It’s MY blog, and while I connect with other runners, I’m always going to share what’s interesting to me. And yes, blogging is not a one way street. I try to reply to almost every person who comments on my blog — although there are rare occasions I really can’t come up with a reply, and I typically don’t reply unless I have something to share.

    The running community can be pretty incredible. Yet I really struggle with meeting up for those evening runs! There was one just last night. I wanted to go, but Thursdays are a busy day for me, and this was no exception. I just didn’t want to spend an hour in the car battling traffic — plus I knew I’d be getting to bed later than normal.

    OTOH, a friend’s house is right on a race route tomorrow. She’s hosting a water stop. A bunch of us are volunteering to help her with it & then they’re hosting a potluck afterwards. Should be a lot of fun! I’ve never manned a water stop (except once in a trail race, which was different).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you – blogging should not be a one-way street. I like to respond to all comments, then go see what the commenter has written recently and comment on their blog. I was thinking about doing a post about that sometime. There used to be a blogging group with a badge that was something like “I Comment Back”. It would be nice to know – this writer is committing to responding to comments.

      Our club has a lot of runs to choose from. There is a run with a “Part 2” each Tuesday evening, a trail run with a “Part 2” each Thursday, and a trail run in the county park each Sunday morning, plus other assorted outings. You seem to be a pretty social runner. I see lots of photos of you with your running friends.

      Hope you had fun at the water stop and potluck. That sounds like a lot of fun!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, our running clubs absolutely have lots of group runs. And the vast majority are 7 mm, 8 mm, 10 mm pace . . .

        They all say all paces welcome, but when you have to worry about getting lost because there’s no one else running your pace — just not so much fun.

        I run mostly by myself, and that’s mostly because since I don’t work, I don’t have to run in the afternoon. That and for a while I had friends I could run with, but at the moment in my circle of running friends there really isn’t anyone who runs at my pace.

        I really do enjoy running with others, at the same time, I’m also happy mentoring is over and I can run when I can squeeze it in again. I’m also lucky that I don’t have to go out super early most of the time, or fight traffic at night.

        Liked by 1 person

      • So happy I don’t have to run in the dark anymore either. It’s a shame you don’t live closer. Our running club really does have runners of all paces – there is even an all-walking contingent.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Obviously there are people that run my pace in the running club. The problem is finding them! I had a friend I ran with for a few years, but she’s had a few issues and doesn’t run as consistently anymore — I miss her! Poor woman works like a slave. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yes. It is well worth it to host for about 50 – 60 for one week, then just show up the rest of the summer. I share the hosting duties with hubby and 2 other runners.

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  9. community – the running community, the blogging community or whatever other interest you have – is so important. and I think that is one of the main reasons that I often feel a little disconnected and in some cases lonely. I have “we” in my husband and he truly is amazing and my rock and best friend. I am grateful that I have what I have, so I try not to dwell on it too much when the disconnection is there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. Community is so important! The blogging community is wonderful, but there is nothing like our face-to-face relationships. I hope you find some good groups to join soon!

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  10. I have withdrawn from people, quite a lot, preferring my own company. However, thanks to the modern way of communicating, I feel more content and accepted than ever. Community is important, however you find it. Your running club sounds amazing, I must say x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That was very nice and heartfelt Laurie – I am happy to have met you here in this forum as well. We share many similarities besides blogging here on WordPress. Your running club sounds fun and a little similar to the Island Road Runners that have been running for 40 years and who organized the 5K Memorial Day event. The feeling of camaraderie is something that makes us whole.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so happy to have met you too, Linda. I am always amazed at the friendships that I have formed through blogging. I anticipated a much more lonely experience – just me and my laptop, typing away. I didn’t realize the interactive aspect of blogging, but I love it! That’s a good way to put it – community makes us whole.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I love the connections I”ve made through running. I’m kind of an introverted extrovert if that makes sense. I’m not good at seeking out friendships but if they happen, I’m all in. That’s what the blog has done for me. My running club is full of wonderful people but I’m a little intimidated. It’s hard to break into the closeness that comes with spending a lot of time together!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I cannot imagine you being intimidated, Wendy! 🙂 I know what you mean about the whole introverted extrovert thing. I am about 50/50 with the introvert/extrovert label. I think our blogging running community is special. We each have something different and unique to contribute!

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  13. Community is so important and feeling part of one makes such a difference.Your running group sounds great – having regular meet-ups must really help keep you motivated too. #WotW

    Liked by 1 person

    • My running club really does keep me motivated. I love getting to run and socialize with different members each week. From reading your blog, it seems like you are part of a caring community too.

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  14. About the last thing I expected when I decided to write “for real” was the sense of community I found — several communities, in fact, from the various writing associations I’ve joined, to my critique groups and writers’ support groups, and of course the blogging community. It’s an unexpected and incredibly nourishing delight.

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