Growing a New Day
As I often do, before beginning this series I did some research into the word “community”. The dictionary is the best starting point and yet, in this case, I found it outdated – and I researched ten different dictionaries. Perhaps that is one reason we are, in the 21st century, having such a difficult time growing community. We haven’t updated our definition of the word to fit the world in which we now reside.
One can debate the pros and cons of social media from sunrise to sunset but only a fool would try to deny its existence. Someone wanting to know the business hours of a retail, medical, or even religious facility no longer opens the telephone directory or newspaper to locate such. Today the Internet is the place to find answers and information. Any business or organization that fails to have on online presence is effectively operating in the dark with no way for its audience to find it.
The most common definition I found for the word community was “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often has a common cultural and historical heritage.” The problem with this outdated definition is that today a community is more likely composed of members with difference cultural and historical heritage and most definitely multiples religious and spiritual beliefs. In the 21st century, our neighborhoods are not just around the block but also online. That one fact has expanded each person’s community to include people from other cultures, ethnic heritages, and, most importantly, varied life experiences.
As we seek to grow our community, we have to be open to differing opinions, ways of operating, varied clothing. We no longer have communities where everyone eats the same thing on Tuesday nights or prepares chicken soup exactly the same way. As our personal space has decreased with the increase in the human population on this planet, our ability to learn and experience different cultures has increased. With three quick clicks of a computer mouse or keystroke, one has access to multiple ways of cooking meatloaf or a meatless loaf.
There are funerals every day on this planet and yet, the one funeral we all need to attend we haven’t. We need to bury yesterday and let the “status quo” rest in peace. Today is a new day and we need to embrace it, not fear it. Change is inevitable as is evolution. Despite what certain pundits would have you believe, evolution is not a nasty word. It means growth – nothing more. Our sense of community needs to evolve as well.
A popular advertisement likes to claim it is not genetically modified and yet, its main ingredient, wheat, has been genetically modified by Mother Nature and mankind throughout the history of agriculture. The origin of wheat is traced by archaeological evidence to 15,000 BCE from the regions we today call Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Armenia, and Iraq – an area better known as the Fertile Crescent. This area experienced great climate change with various Ice Ages and vegetation normally used for food became scarce. Those living in the area had to seek the seeds from the plants growing in higher elevation, plants previously considered weeds. Once gathered, these seeds were cultivated and became a basic food source which later figured prominently in many religious ceremonies and beliefs. The seeds had to adapt to a different growing environment and mankind learned various uses for them. From a staple grain cereal to the basis for liquid refreshment, wheat has gone from being a weed to a prominent role in the diet of the human race.
The ballots are being tallied and after Tuesday’s vote in the USA, a picture is beginning to form as to what new day will be the face of tomorrow. Some will lament over what was not accomplished while others will spend their time bragging. Neither will be productive, though, unless it leads to growth. Change is how the world and each of us in it prepare for tomorrow. We grow, we increase our knowledge, skills, and abilities, we provide for the future by our evolution.
Community is perhaps best defined as “relationship”. When we are in community, we have acknowledged a rapport with each other. We accept we are in many ways connected and are, at the same time, different. We are linked by our presence on this planet and perhaps by species but more importantly, we acknowledge and value each other, creating a liaison that will link to a brighter and more productive future. In this affiliation, we will grow not only a new day but also a new world, brighter in its being with hope for peace and better living for all.