A Community of Individuals

Father Richard Rohr, one of my favorite teachers, pointed to this in one of his daily meditations: “Community is the most neglected and probably the most difficult ingredient for us to hold to in the U.S. context. And for the most obvious of reasons — we have come to worship at the altar of independence, individualism and autonomy. As much as there is deep hunger for connection, common purpose and kindred hearts, there is a merciless, deep rooted entrenchment in the forces of competition, freedom and self-rule.”

This describes my experience with community so well. I have yearned for connection with others. Not just for conversation, shared hobbies and experiences, but for something deeper. I’ve searched for dynamic relationships and diversity. I’ve wanted a sense of common purpose and goals to unite me with others. I don’t think this sense of longing is unique to me nor is my often neglect of community. That’s right, as much as I desire community and to be included I often go through the gamut of excuses when it comes to actually engaging.

Despite my avoidance, I’ve been blessed with a few communities, including The Crucible Project, that are re-defining what it means to be intentional as a community. But I had a lesson recently that brought my whole notion into a new perspective for me.

Since completing my two-year transformation program with The Crucible Project, my growth has continued but my distance from the Crucible community and my brothers has also grown. I’ve continued to deal with various trials and I’ve found old and new support.  But the more time that past, the more hesitant I grew to reach out to the Crucible community. That’s when one brother sent me a note, checking in on me and asking me to staff with him. That simple note broke open my shields of hesitation. I felt tender for the connection and I learned a couple of lessons about community.

  1. A community is made of individuals. The values and impact of the community is only as strong as the actions of each individual.
  2. I too am an individual of the community, so I need to ask what I am doing to engage for the benefit of both myself and others in the community.

The simple action of reaching out by one man, unbeknownst to him, made an impact on me. The next time I think about community it won’t be about an organization or collective but about the individuals and how those individuals chose to live out their shared values.

My commitment is to find a simple act to live out for the betterment of my communities. I challenge you to consider the same.

By Greg Hawkins

Greg completed his initial weekend in 2014 and is a graduate of our Two-Year Transformational program. He believes in the power of being vulnerable to foster authentic and courageous lives. He is a husband, dad of two girls, yogi, blogger, and is a director at an industrial supply company. His favorite activities are dance parties with his girls, getting outside with his dogs or horse and date nights with his wife.

Photo Credit: Photo provided by The Crucible Project