I am part of several online communities – closed Facebook groups in which members interact primarily around a subject such as writing or bravery or running.
I have developed some of my closest friends through these groups, even though we’ve never met face to face.
I have also seen power unleashed when these communities step into action.
Yesterday, I happened to see a post in one of the groups by a woman who said that she had been in the shadows until now, and that her actions were not brave in comparison to many of the others discussed.
She went on to share that two weeks ago she had left her husband of over 20 years, with whom she had 12 children, 9 still at home. She left because he had been abusing her (and probably those kids) all those years. He had been arrested and she had a court hearing the next day. She said that the night before, she and the kids had left dirty dishes in the sink and went to the park – laughing and playing – and hadn’t felt that free in years.
You cannot even imagine the outpouring of support that flowed throughout the day! People commenting that they were praying for her and her kids, that she was the bravest person among us, that she had begun a new chapter for her family, contacts of people that could help her with her legal battles, housing, food, job, etc. etc. etc.
I was brought to tears each time I read the comments. She commented several times how overwhelmed she was with the support and how she didn’t feel alone and could go do this because of the courage she gained from us.
Now that is what community is for!