Thursday, May 1, 2008

True Community

I am working today in our busy Community Services office. Situated in the heart of our Corps and Community Centre, this office is a hub of activity all through the week. People continually drop in to share their joys and troubles with us ranging from the trivial to major life crises. It's an exciting place to be and I enjoy it, though it's not a highly productive environment if you have other work to do.

Some of the interesting characters that I have spent time with today include:
  • a young man who has epilepsy and frequently has fits at our centre
  • a woman who cannot speak and communicates with vague sounds and gestures
  • an middle-aged woman with a mental illness whose life is always full of tragedy
  • an elderly man who I had to catch when he nearly fell over
  • a young man with an intellectual disability and a mental illness in need of accommodation

You never quite know what's going to happen or who's going to come through the door, but that's part of the nature of an open and inclusive community service. I'm reminded of the words of M. Scott Peck that I've quoted to our Corps on a number of occasions.

True community is always, among other things, an adventure. You will always be going into the unknown, and you will often be scared, particularly at the beginning. But you will not be alone. You will be entering this adventure with others as scared as you, and you will be able to share not only your fear but your talents and strengths. Out of the strength of your community you will be able to do things you never thought you were capable of.

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