If you happen to follow our Facebook page, then you know we absolutely love to spend time together! We love events, potlucks, birthday parties, staff meetings, rallies and all the above. We start getting questions in the office about upcoming events months and sometimes even a year in advance because our people are already excited about them. I love this. I love that we have a culture of people who want to do life together. They recognize that life is better spent amongst people you care about. This is what community is all about and the message that we live everyday.
Some of my best friends work for Compass and I know some of you would say the same. I see this all time in every region. I like to observe people so if you catch me staring, don’t be creeped out, but I am what you would call a “people watcher” (I know I’m not alone!). I may joke about that but I have observed a lot over the last 5 years. I get to travel to all of our locations for events, meetings, etc. and I have watched strangers become close friends after meeting at the office or out in the field. I have watched clients meet for the first time, and later on I learn they have become roommates. I have watched an entire team rally around a staff member whose house burned to the ground. I have seen our office team pull together resources for a brand new client who literally had nothing. I have seen our whole community sacrificially give to an orphanage in Cambodia so they can have a playground. I have had supervisors and peers drop everything they are doing to help me because they could see I really needed it. I can give you story after story about this! I can think of 3 examples just from last week!
Helen Keller says it best, “Alone we can do so little, but together we can do so much.” I can be a stubbornly independent person at times. It’s never worked out well for me. I am learning that even if I think I don’t “need” help, it’s ok to accept it. It’s ok to lean on someone else for support. I can still be responsible for something, but not have to do it ALL on my own. I’d be foolish to think that I have gotten where I am today by my own accord.
Who better to take tips from than the most friendliest neighbor on the planet, Mr. Rogers. He writes: “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, it’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem. Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my hero’s.” I recently watched a speech that Mr. Rogers gave after he received the lifetime achievement award in 1997. You can watch it yourself, here. In it, he says there have been so many people that have “loved him into being.” His point is this; we need people. People see things in us that we would never see without them. They call out the gold in us. They encourage us when we need it the most. They love us when we don’t deserve it. They believe in us when we doubt ourselves.
We get to experience community in that way and we get to be that experience for others in our community. This is how we embody community. This is how we make a difference. This is how we love.