My new home is located in a community of people who embrace living as friendly and caring neighbors. It reminds me of how I grew up. Life with people who know your name, share meals, host game nights, walk to the local restaurant and take care of each other’s home and pets while out of town. It is a community where you share your cell numbers and know the life styles of each other. It is a very refreshing experience.
Shortly after I made my transition, I started experiencing waves of anxiety. It usually hit me in the middle of the night or right as I woke up. It began to be a pattern that kept me from living with a peaceful heart and mind. I could not logically define the cause, nor could I “talk” myself out of it. One evening shortly after I was settled, my friend (now my neighbor) and I spontaneously walked down to the local restaurant for dinner and ran into another neighbor and ended up sharing a meal together. Later in the evening, after we parted, I noticed all my anxiety had evaporated. I felt connected, peaceful and fulfilled. Now, as the process of putting down new roots continues and the waves of anxiety roll in, I have my antidote handy. I realize I need some community time; family, neighbor, faith or friend, and I step out and either create or embrace opportunities available to me.
I have come across recent research stating that happiness and flourishing comes from rich, deep, joy producing, life changing relationships.
I love the quote from John Ortberg:
“Connectedness is not the same thing as knowing many people. People may have many contacts in many networks, but they may not have many friends."
Spending time investing in and receiving people in community builds my character and shapes my world. It is an art that creates beauty and permeates the dry and lonely pockets in my heart and soul.
I know I need people. I know I need deep connections. I need others to watch out for me. And now, I know my waves of anxiety have an antidote: community.
“When you run alone, you run fast, when you run together, you run far.”