Listen, y'all.

I know that 'bout the only times we hear the word "community" in the US, it's paired with a group ("the Black community", "the gay community"), or used with "organizer" so it sounds like someone knocking on doors in a neighborhood.

It's bigger than those examples and uses.

A community is any group of people who have things in common and manage to find each other. You're a member of so many communities – you and your neighbors live in the same area; you and your coworkers are employed by the same company. Your book club is a community. Your gaming friends, your buddies at karaoke night, your group text: all communities.

One of the big things communities do – one of the reasons humans are social at all:
Communities help each other.

People in a community recognize the things they have in common. Your coworker? Your gaming buddy? Sure, there are plenty of differences, but the things you both share bring you together.

The links that connect community members can be the most tenuous ideas sometimes, but they still connect us. They make us care. They make us want to see members of our communities happy, healthy, and doing well.

As we head into 2023, I hope we all think about community more. It's important to consider the connections we have to others, and it's doubly important to respect the positives we get from being part of our various communities.

The ties we share are valid and worthwhile, no matter how small they might seem to others.

The actions we take as community members can change lives, for good or ill. Connection comes with responsibilities.

Spend some real time with it. Try to appreciate even the thin bonds you share with people. Think about the ways you can make things better for them.