Reverb10. Day 7.
Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (from Cali Harris)
Yesterday, in my Facebook inbox, was a message from a friend that broke my heart wide open all over again. A friend of hers had gone full term with a baby boy, only to have him die before he was born. In dead baby math, this is one of the worst losses. No hints, no warning signs, just utter devastation. The news sent me reeling back to the end of July, when I lay in my hospital bed, in shock, in pain, separated from reality by the constant beeping of monitors and comings and goings of nurses. I instantly felt great love for this couple I have never met. They have joined this secret community of hundreds of thousands – the sisterhood of the baby lost. It is a tribe no one wishes to belong to and far too many of us do. This is the community I was introduced to in 2010. It is huge, its arms are open wide and there is much support to be found. It was here that I connected with amazingly strong and incredibly sad women such as Angela, Vera Kate and Jessica to name just a few. Tonight in my meditation I began to cry for this community – for the woman who woke to find her day old baby dead at her breast; for my friend who felt her son’s final desperate struggle for life, blissfully unaware of what was taking place; for the family who joined us this past Sunday. The sisterhood of the baby lost.
At the same time, there are other communities that have surrounded me with love and support this year. The incredible families here in Ventura who delivered meals every day, then every other day for over a month after Ben’s death. People who had never met us, people who have only known us a short time. The family who took us in when I was on bedrest and Steve was working out of town, drove me to the hospital in the middle of the night, then took care of us again when I was barely able to walk from the surgery, or function from the grief. Our neighbors who cooked for us, walked the dog for us, helped my best friend clean the house the day I came home and my mom arrived. I have been awed by these people and grateful beyond words.
Then there are the friends I have known for years, or lifetimes. They sent cards, love, emails, food. They did what they could from a distance and I love and am grateful to them too.
Finally there is the community that I met here, online, mostly during last year’s version of Reverb10, the best of 09. Though some dropped away as I neglected blogging and tweeting through the ups and downs of my pregnancy, others have held my virtual hand, left loving messages, given of themselves in ways I never could have asked for or imagined myself accepting before this. This blog has reconnected me to people I knew, and has introduced me to others who are gifts in my life though our correspondences have been brief. The power of a virtual community is real.
In 2011 I intend to strengthen the circles I belong to, so that more connections are made, and circles begin to overlap. I intend to step back into giving since this year I learned to receive. I would like more time for Twitter, more time to read and comment on other blogs. I would love to put living, breathing, flesh and blood people to names I have come to adore through the ether. I want to deeply embed myself into my community here, spending time with friends, getting to know my city now that I can get out of the house. There is a spiritual, healing community that I want to deepen my connection with. I might not be clear on where I’m headed in this life, but I do know that is an important next step on the path. My last intention, though arguably the most important, is to participate more actively in the global community. I’ve been quoting Gandhi for years. It’s time to move into being that change.