One of my most important beliefs is community. It’s the belief that affects me most in life, because I use it every day. I believe that everyone should have a community to support them. Some use their church or religious congregation as a community; some use their family; while others, like me, just use their friends. Well, I shouldn’t say just, because sometimes friends are the best community you can have. When I have a problem or I’m feeling sad I always go to my friends, I hate to say, even before my parents sometimes. In return of course you have to support your friends, because what kind of selfish person receives help without giving?
Last year at one point someone told me I was so annoying he wanted to hurt me, and so I started thinking that nobody liked me, but they were all too nice to say so. Some of my very good friends brought me back down to earth by convincing me that people do like me. This is when I realized how much one needs support. My seventh grade teacher, Ms. Fay, brought this into even more light for me while we were discussing why people would join a gang. The main reason was that they wanted to belong to a community. It’s amazing that they were that extreme just because they need something that I can get every day. I think that since I figured out how important community is, I’ve tried to help my friends as much as I can. Community support is a two-way street.
There are different types of friends, just like there are different types of communities. I have one group that is good for a laugh when I’m feeling down. One group listens to me when I have subjects I want to discuss, and one group helps me achieve goals that I want. So maybe you need more than one community, unless you can find an omnipotent community that can do everything.
I don’t know when I realized that my group of friends was a close-knit community (probably a long time ago) but I do know when I realized I need them. It was Winter Break, 2006. I was driving in the car with my dad, feeling kind of down, when he asked me what was wrong. I said nothing, because I didn’t know, for the moment. I began thinking why I would be feeling sad and I realized that I missed my friends. They made me happy.
I guess what I’m trying to get across is that you should support people. Some people aren’t as open as I am to say that they need help and support. In fact, sometimes that is the hardest thing to say. So you should always be prepared to help your friends, because even if they don’t say anything, you are sometimes the best community they have.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.