Moms with Cancer: Day Five

Moms with Cancer: Day Five

find community

By Niki Hardy

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“Are you in?” I texted my neighbor. “I’m one egg short and baking Emma’s birthday cake. Do you one I could borrow? Well, maybe not borrow, as you won’t get it back, but you can have a slice of cake!”

Our block has a friendly, community feel. We block off the road for our annual pot luck Halloween party before the kids head off hunting for sugar and we watch each other’s dogs, bring in a stray trash can when it’s been forgotten and wave and say hi as we walk our dogs. We know each other’s names, for the most part, and we have a block email list. It’s easy, safe community.

And that’s the thing about community – it’s great until life falls apart in an instant or unravels slowly over time. Then it doesn’t seem so inviting or feel so safe, and we end up retreating, pulling ourselves back into the safety of all we know and trust, like turtles under attack.

True community requires us to show up just as we are and often just as I am isn’t how I want to be and definitely not how I want to be seen. The joy and life to be found in community far outweigh the risks of showing up and being seen, and the isolation of going it alone.

And stepping into community in our pain provides a ready made party when it’s time to celebrate. 

If we want to thrive, not just survive, we must step closer to those who know us and step out towards those who know how we feel. We must show up just as we are; mad, bad, sad or glad. Faking how we’re doing keeps people at arms length and leaves us with a plastic fantastic community that doesn’t have the strength or depth to bring life. 

Thriving is a team sport and no one gets to win alone.

Reflection questions: 

  • How do you feel about community at the moment? Scared, overwhelmed, thankful, excited?

  • Where could you find people who understand what you’re going through as well as those who love and support you, despite never having been through what you’re going through?

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