The Strength of Community

With the recent insane-o weather, the number of heart-wrenching stories (both good and, unfortunately, bad) out there is amazing. My heart goes out to each and every person touched by the recent tornadoes and floods. There may not be anything to be learned from these stories, but there is always something to make us appreciate what we’ve got and hug a loved one tighter that evening.

That instinct to be near to people when faced with catastrophe is natural, and healthy (when the opposite occurs too strongly, it might be time for someone to talk with). We are social animals, after all. As social media has become an inseparable part of many of our lives, the need for community persists. In a bathroom, in a basement, after everything is okay, when things aren’t okay. We can now take that community with us, on a smartphone hugged under mattresses in a bathtub.

This story from a BlogHer author touched me, and made me think of our role as information providers. We like to think that it is our job to give the facts, but sometimes, it’s also our job to tell people it’s okay to feel what they’re feeling. To be emotional and express relief at good news. To be human. To be a part of the community.

I remember that day, because I worried about all of my friends in Kansas City. In fact, I even said on Twitter that the worst part of knowing people across the country was having to worry about so many more of my friends.

Read Rita’s story here (it’s a happy ending story), and consider how big our roles actually are, bigger than press releases, bigger than social media, as big as the community.


One thought on “The Strength of Community”

  1. Yes; community is fundamental to who we are. That’s the key theme running through my book, Creative License ( or and much of what I publish at my blog ( But that’s not all we learn from these stories. Natural disasters, however awful they are at the human scale and however much I absolutely believe that we must step in to minimize their devastating impact and help those affected, teach us humility. We smugly run around believing that we–as humans–always are in charge of our world, and it’s important to remember that there are forces we cannot manage…and to live with the awe that can inspire.

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