The Necessity of Community

Stephanie - 10510, New York
Entered on June 13, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: community

Humans were not created to be lonely beings. I believe in the community to heal, to support, and to strengthen the individual. But we start to acknowledge the community once we understand that it is a mere collection of life stories waiting to be discovered.

When I walk down the blocks in Chinatown or ride in the car with my parents and stare out the window, my eyes glue to their faces and scan down their bodies. People walking with cell phones, laughing or having a serious tantrum; people riding bikes, heading to a destination, smiling at where they’re going or anxious at what might be there when they arrive; people walking hand-in-hand, feeling warmth and joy, experiencing love and reminiscing the rough times they had to go through together in order to get to where their relationship is now, all make me wonder what their life story is and how it unraveled to make them end up on the streets of Chinatown in the first place.

Everyone has a life story. It is our history, our upbringing, and the factors that have shaped us into who we are today. My eyes pass by each and every one of them: people jogging with their dog or holding a music player, wanting to get fit for the summer or running out the stress from work; people with school bags or briefcases heading towards the subway station, in a rush to meet times end; people with children, people who have aged, who are at peace in life or who have regrets about the past, who have discovered to appreciate the beauty in nature while sitting in the park or feeding breadcrumbs to the pigeons, and people who just stare back thinking what my life story is, why I’m walking down the street or staring outside my car window, wondering what I’m all about, where I came from, where I’m driving to, and why I have this curious and puzzled expression on my face as I look right back at them.

We need each other to tell of our life story. We yearn to talk to someone and to be heard by someone, to laugh with someone and to cry with someone. And when we do embrace the community, we learn that the journey we call life is never walked alone.

To believe in the community is to understand that constructive criticism is a sign of care and not an insult, that an argument is motivational and not reckless, and that every quandary is an opportunity to grow and not a prospect to stumble. I believe in the community. And because we make up the community, because I know your life story and you know mine, I believe that we can heal each other, support each other, and strengthen each other. I believe in the community because I believe in you.