Tell Someone How Much They Matter: Reflections on Living in Community - Part 1

I had a friend, I really liked him, he decided to move back east. I said, “Why are you leaving LA? I like having you here!” “Oh!” he said, seeming sort of surprised. “Then why didn’t you ever text me?”

It surprised me. He really didn’t have any idea that him being here was something I valued, a lot.

How often does this happen to you: You think, Oh yes, he’s always there, every Tuesday. I’m looking forward to Tuesday, I know I’ll see him there. And then a Tuesday comes, and he’s not there. Do you think he knew that he was a part of your life that you looked forward to on Tuesdays?

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When we leave it to others to organize community, and we passively consume the “community” they organize by doing nothing but showing up at regularly scheduled events, we can so easily miss the chance to let people know how much we appreciate them.

We need to watch our tendency to leave everything up to specialized “community organizers.” If we live in community, we are ALL community organizers.

What do community organizers do? They try to kindle a sort of persistent magnetism...they try to get people to show up. They indefatigably pour their love, energy and creativity into coming up with tempting ways to get you off your butt, out of the house, to do something that’s great for your well being. I would say that most of actual activities they put together - performances, themes, games, contests and so forth - don’t matter much in themselves. All we community organizers are trying, so hard, to do, is to give you a small excuse to reach out to a friend and say, “hey, are you going to X?”

YOU are a community organizer, and a subtle hero, whenever you tell someone you care.

You are contributing to creating the world you want with every text you send, every chat, every message, every bit of attention you send outward towards another reminding them they are valued, that their presence enriches your life, that their absence would be noticed.

You ARE community, each time you find some way to let someone know you appreciate them, that they matter to you.

CHALLENGE: Who are the people that you see week in and week out, perhaps here and there at Tango events, who matter to you? Pick one of these people. Does this person know that they matter to you? That you are happy when you see them, that you are glad they are around? Open your mind and let ideas come to you - perhaps you’ll connect with something small, and very “you” that you could do or say, over the next week, that would help them be aware of how much you value them. Feel free to share what you did and what effect it had with the community - we can all inspire each other with our ideas for appreciating one another.