, ,

Living in a big city, I cherish any opportunity that I get to visit the ‘country’. It reminds me of the small town I spent four years in while in graduate school. I got a rare opportunity after last Sunday (October 2nd) morning’s #SpiritChat. We piled in the minivan, and the family headed out to the small town of Wellington. I thought it would be a good opportunity to spend some Sunday hours with my family.

I had no idea that I was going to get an education on the true meaning of the “spirit of a  community”.

My wife’s friend’s sister has this rare form of cancer which occurs in 2 out of a million people. She has been receiving ‘experimental’ treatments for the past few months ~ perhaps her last hope for a cure. An estimated 5% of people who receive the treatment beat the disease and are in permanent remission.

But this story is not about cancer.

As I pulled into the road that led to the “Wellington Eagles Hall” with its freshly paved parking lot bordered by cornfields on one side, I was struck by the fact that there were almost a few hundred cars there. I had driven through the ‘downtown’ of this two-stoplight town and it didn’t seem like that there could have been a hundred cars in the entire town. But, perhaps, some of them were ‘out-of-town’ folks like me.

Walking into the building, I could hear the band playing as the music streamed into the hallway. We made our way to the “welcome table”, where we were greeted warmly by her family and friends. Mind you, I had never met most of the over 300 folks that had crammed this small dining hall. But somehow, I felt right at home. Every seat on every table seemed like it was taken.

Welcome to the “spirit of community” ~ friends, family and acquaintances had gathered for a fund-raiser to help her continue with her experimental treatments. The goal was to raise some money for travel, lodging and medical expenses by having a “spaghetti dinner”. Perhaps some of you have been to events like these ~ but this was my first experience. A tremendous amount of work had been done by ‘volunteers’ who had solicited donations from businesses that were raffled off as prizes. People were buying ‘arm-length’ and ‘body-length’ tickets for $10 and $20 respectively.

A group of ladies stood behind a counter serving up what seemed like an unending supply of various home-baked goods. Teenagers walked around selling tickets for the 50-50 raffle. I could go on and on about the amount of work that family and close friends were engaged in. After three hours, they had raised over $8500. My wife’s friend called later and said that the total was over $13000 (the original goal was $10000).

But this story isn’t about money either.

I share this story because it taught me a few things. The power of generosity. The power of single-mindedness of purpose. The power of collective consciousness, and the positive energy that seemed to flow into her spirit in the presence of her well-wishers. And, the power of what can be achieved when a community decides to collaborate and work towards a goal.

Let us talk some more about the “Spirit of Community”. I invite you to tweet with the hashtag #SpiritChat and join in a twitter chat on Sunday October 9th at 9am ET / 1pm GMT. Come share with our community.

Thank you. Be well. Kumud

P.S. Please leave a comment about the “Spirit of your Community” if you cannot join us at the appointed hour. We would love to hear from you. Thank you.

Tweet with or search the hashtag #SpiritChat on twitter as a participant to see each other’s tweets on the topic. Or use tweetchat.com and ‘Join’ #Spiritchat at 9am ET/1pmGMT on Sundays.

Update: #SpiritChat Transcript for Sunday October 09th 9am ET. Join us in a ‘community’ review  at 10pm ET/7pm PT. Thank you!