December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
To whom much is given, much is expected. I have discovered community in those nursing colleagues that share my desire to contribute to the field of nursing in a meaningful way by providing care to vulnerable populations – racial and ethnic minorities, women, the homeless, the addicted, the incarcerated – that face myriad health care disparities because of their liminal status in society. When record numbers of health care providers are jumping the primary care ship for high paying specialties, we are committed to providing comprehensive primary, preventative care in an effort to foster healthier individuals, families, and communities. I am lucky to have found such wonderful people who share my passion for nursing. I am continually inspired by the patients that I am privileged to care for and collaborate with.
I have also discovered community in my neighborhood. This is the 4th year that those who live on our block have met for our weekly Advent Soup dinners. As one of our neighbors likes to say, “we have created a sub-culture” in an era where few families and communities take time to share a meal, let alone take the time to do it 4 weeks in a row. What is truly remarkable about this neighborhood tradition is that only a handful of us are Catholic. These gatherings transcend religious and spiritual belief, though, and challenge us to slow down, to revel in the anticipation of the changes that are to come. We have used this season of Advent, known as a time of preparation in the Catholic faith, to gather and reflect upon the year we are about to leave behind and the year that is to commence. We discuss our hopes and disappointments, our fears and longings; we laugh a lot over bread and homemade soup. We reflect on how we have been able to create an oasis of peace, love, and friendship during a hectic season. I am infinitely grateful for the fact that I only have walk up and down my block to find, not only true friends, but family.
At the risk of seeming gluttonous, I don’t know if I could really ask for more in 2011, except that my relationships continue to grow and deepen and that life never fail to present me with the opportunity to come to know others who cross my path.