The word community often suggests a sense of unity or kinship manifest in a group, neighborhood, town, or society. Yet the connections are not always visible.
Yesterday my colleague and I were making a presentation to business and civic leaders in the local community. In the introduction a man recalled something I did 20 years ago that helped him launch a new effort that since has grown into much more. It seemed like a small thing that I could hardly remember but for him it was a big thing that was unforgettable. The effort has since touched many people. In sharing the story he was expressing genuine gratitude and I felt loved. The audience seemed to feel something as well. Later my colleague shared a story about something I did 25 years ago that lifted her in a discouraging time and helped her launch her career. She since has touched many people. Again it was something I could hardly remember but for her it was unforgettable. Again, she was expressing genuine gratitude and I felt loved. Again the audience seemed moved. During the session there were several times when the man who did the introductions called out things that people in the audience had or were doing for someone or something else. By the end of the session, even though many people were strangers to each other, there seemed to be a sense of unity and goodness in the room.
Later in the day, a person who had been in the audience sent me a message. Part of his message was an expression of his love for living in this community. Reflecting on this event reminds me of both the the ripple effect of each action we take, and the importance of making (positive) investments in my communities.