I have been thinking about writing a blog for some time now but life seems to get in the way. As you can all understand. It is 11:45 pm and got out of bed to write this as my thoughts of gratitude needed to be articulated.
Marty and I watched an amazing movie last night called “The Theory of Everything” (based on the life story of Physicist, Stephen Hawking). It moved me and reminded me that not only can we do anything that we put our mind to, but also that our bodies are truly amazing. Stephen was diagnosed with ALS early on in his life (while attending University) and truly lives his life to his full potential and defies all odds by becoming a doctor, having a family, writing two books, traveling the world and becoming a grandfather. Everyone has their journey in life and they are all as unique as we are.
I am feeling very blessed to have the ability to learn all the amazing things that I have and share it with all that want to listen. This movie reminds me again that we are not alone and that in sharing our stories, and in times of struggle, it can only bring us all closer together and build that sense of community that we crave… one of the reasons I created my blog.
This year is about building community and surrounding myself with people that want to be part of something bigger.
I think back to my childhood where I was so blessed to grow up in the small community of Port Kells where we were all known by name. The people in Port Kells would say “Shannon is part of the Donohoe family.” It really was a “small” community where neighbors knew one another and would visit one another’s home. The parents of friends could act as surrogate parents to other children. Children played in the streets under the gaze of friendly and protective adults. At the corner we had the PK store, PK Building supplies, PK library (with Sharon – best librarian ever!), PK fire hall, PK community hall, Burnies Garage, PK elementary school and of course PK park. Recently I was at the corner store and they still remembered me…16 years later. My dad tells me that the owners of PK Building Supplies still ask about me. Wow! All the parents knew the kids by name and ALL of Port Kells was our playground. We left the house early and come home for dinner and mom and dad did not worry… they had many friends in the community that were always keeping an eye out for us.
Today… things are different. Many of us live in homes where both parents have to go to work and drive long distances to get there. Often grandparents can not help with looking after the children as they too live far away and are might still be working themselves. When we get home we are busy going from one activity to the next, making dinner, doing homework and getting the children ready for bed. Many of us don’t even have time to get to know our neighbors and often we keep our kids close. Something has been lost…
There are so many ways to be connected to community whether it is your church, the place you volunteer, your school, your local coffee shop, your neighbors next door. Community has this amazing way of making you feel connected, supported, listened to, inspired, and alive.
I have had the honor to be part of A Rocha’s community for over a year now working with young girls at risk teaching education programs about nutrition and healthy eating. The sense of community that I feel there even when I walk into the kitchen is truly amazing. My parents have a home on Mayne Island and every time I go there I also feel an amazing sense of community. It has been 24 years that our family has been going there and the islanders know us as the “Donohoe” family. When I was sick I went on retreats with the Callanish Society and YACC (Young Adult Cancer Canada) and I am still part of both of these amazing communities. Communities are all around us and we all benefit from being part of something bigger… not just our kids. We are not meant to be independent but interdependent as the saying goes, it really does “Take a village to raise a child.”
How to build a community: http://www.thepeacecompany.com/store/prod_cards_community.php