E is for Elephant...

Elephant, not the grey wrinkly kind, but rather the orange-brown spotted kind, with the long neck, came home with my best girlfriend's son today. Elephant is the "class pet" and her nine year old son was delighted that it is his turn to spend the weekend with Elephant. Carrying him around in his backpack and watching TV, the two of them enjoyed their Friday night together, looking forward to a fun-filled, baseball-filled weekend in the Oregon rain.

Boy and giraffe, spending time, doing what boys do...video games, wrestling with the brothers...so many options.

What is special about this weekend is that Elephant represents community and our desire to belong. Everyone in the class gets their time with Elephant, and his weekend has finally arrived. The anticipation, the joy of being part of the community, he loves and savors each and every moment with Elephant.

Each and every one of us craves to be a part of a community. We seek it out, even in times that we want to "be alone." In our "aloneness" we often seek out others for solace...that is another type of community, of sorts.

This year I have talked about the loss of community at work, and how this crushing blow has, at time, left me feeling as if I was floating alone in the rough waters of the ocean. How otters create community and the importance of holding onto each other. Community holds us together when we feel like we might be falling apart.

Throughout my years, I often felt that I was floating alone...part of a family, yet disconnected.  Community, yet none.

To create community you find people you can relate to, people with whom you can connect, bond. I have been lucky to find people in my life that I can be myself. This is indeed crucial, because during the difficult times, the times when you are not sure that you will survive, it is your community that surrounds you, carries you, until you can carry yourself, and, even then, they walk behind you making sure that, if you should stumble, you will be safe.

Community can be found in the strangest of places...hospitals, schools, Facebook. Communities are where you will find listeners, healers, storytellers. Community can take you to the highest heights and snatch you from the lowest lows. Community can be represented in a stuffed giraffe named "Elephant" and joy so simple and heart warming should be experienced by us all!

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