"Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much!" ~Helen Keller
Wondering about COMMUNITY....
Of late, we have witnessed the best and the worst of "community". Some have put others before themselves; working tirelessly to get food delivered to those who can't get out, doing errands for others, front-line workers sacrificing their own health for those they care for....neighbors working with neighbors, sharing the struggle and making it easier for a greater number. I can only speak for my experience in Canterbury, but I'm sure our neighboring towns are not too different. In Canterbury a social media page was created right away where people could make requests for help without judgement, where people would gladly volunteer to help if they were able. Volunteers offered to make food deliveries if something was needed from the Canterbury Store. Its a place where the folks celebrate the joys and pains of living in a small town....together. It is "The Canterbury Way".
And then there is...well, the opposite.
I can't help but think the Shakers greatly influenced this thing called "The Canterbury Way". It was here in town long before I arrived. It is palpable. It is grounding... and comforting. It is something to come home to. For outsiders and those not prepared to avail themselves of this thing called "community", it must try their senses. 'Cause you have to love and be willing to be loved. You have to peel back the layers of your neighbors sometimes to see their immense goodness and talents. You have to see that the whole is of greater importance than the individual. The Shakers welcomed the poor, the abandoned, the wise, and un-witted. They cared for the sick, provided for the hungry, and celebrated their lives working for a cause greater than themselves...right here. How could we not be affected?
A community is just a group of humans living under similar conditions together. BUT, a sense of community, or being in community, has an emotional tie that binds.
The Dewey School, located at the Canterbury Shaker Village, has worked hard all year to "live in community". It has been our goal to provide a nurturing environment where children have a strong sense of self AND compassion for others; where filling everyone's bucket has the added benefit of filling an individual's. It is this sense of community that I miss the most right now during this time. I miss the honest, raw emotion that erupts in a three or five year old through joy or sadness. I miss their unsolicited compassion that they have learned for one another and advocacy for themselves. I miss their freedom and lack of "agenda".
I miss the families that support these amazing citizens.