how do you create community?

by rebecca on February 17, 2010

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       Sometimes I feel rich with friends and family and I know that I am lucky to be so well loved. Other days I feel so lonely. Does this happen to you? Nothing really changes in my life. I get out of the same bed and drink something warm out of the same green mug.

       But some days I’m just lonely.

       This poem by, Colleen Wainwright, expresses it best for me.

Everyone has her basket.

And in that basket
are all the things
a body gets
in a lifetime:

The long legs
the natural grace

The way with words
or people
or numbers
or animals

The force field that makes money
or love
or ideas
or children
come to them first

The gene soup
that makes eyes blue
stomachs sturdy
loins fruitful
brains prodigious

Even the luck—
the ponies
the Kojak parking
the pair of pants on sale
or the person of their dreams available
at the exact moment
where need and want meet—
even that
is in the basket.

There will be days
when you look down at your basket and marvel
at the wonderful
things inside

And there will be days
when you cannot bring yourself to look
at all
or rather
where the only place you can look
is at the basket next to you
and with longing.

But every day
someone is looking at your basket
with longing

Every day
someone would trade baskets with yours
sight unseen

I have been
in all of those places
and mostly
I am grateful
for the grace
that forgave my foolishness

This is my basket
to carry
and uncover
layer by layer
day by day
year by year

And sometimes
story by story.

May your basket overflow
with beautiful things
of incomparable joy
and wonder

And when it does not
may you be visited
by the same grace that sat down beside me
to show me the beauty
and the joy
and the wonder
I could not see


        I read her poem and I am reminded we are all simply holding a basket. I need to look into my own again for that thing I missed at last glance. Or maybe I need to place a treasure into someone else’s basket. A friendly gesture often makes me feel the connection I long for.

       What do you do when the lonely blues infect your mood?

       These baskets are made by Lillie Howard. I called her and chatted because I think they are beautiful; which makes me wonder if, on my lonely days, someone is thinking I’m beautiful too?

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