All weekend and into today, I've been struggling with an overwhelming sense of disappointment - disappointment in my community. You see, on Saturday there was an event for domestic violence awareness, a chance for the community to come together in strength and solidarity. This event included the opportunity to walk a labyrinth, something one doesn't get to do every day. Light refreshments were also served. However, in the time I was there, the only visitors were those of us who are already part of the domestic violence coalition. And I noticed that we are all transplants to the area. Not one single local person visited.
In contrast, when our local Olive Garden restaurant opened a few weeks back, over 100 people lined up before the doors were even open. Guess we know the priorities of our local citizens.
Things like this make me want to give up on community efforts. Why bother? Often it seems that few people who were born and raised here really care. And in my experience, except for when those "hot button" issues are addressed, the local community of faith rarely gets excited about or involved in anything meaningful. I see a lot of selfish activity within the religious community, projects or activities that benefit the church or temple, or easy projects, ones that involve shopping for gifts or donations. But seldom do I see the community go out of it's way to support a need that does not somehow have a personal connection. It's all about us and our friends.
It just seems so selfish. I do understand that people have very busy lives and sometimes it's hard to find time to help others. But from my viewpoint, I find that many of my neighbors who complain about lack of time are never too busy to go to the latest, greatest, newest restaurant or store or to spend hours watching television or surfing the internet.
Of course, there are those in this area who do care and who do some very important work. But the list is short, and it always seems to be the same people thinly spreading themselves across a community that needs a lot of help. So, I'm grateful for what we have, but I think we can do better.