Being an introvert, sometimes it’s hard to remember that I really like people, and enjoy simply being with others.  And on Saturday, it was even better, since we were eating too!  I have joined in a small group from my church.  It has now been over two years, and it is becoming more and more a group of people that bring me joy!  Since the church was having a mens breakfast and the guys from our group would be going to that,  we ladies decided to get together for breakfast too.  

It was great!  We ate, talked and enjoyed killing a few hours on a Saturday morning with each other.   I barely had time to ponder the time we spent together, when Mike was home and ready to go for a drive.  He has joined an online photography challenge, so every week he has a different assignment and wanted my company as he searched out inspiration.  So we drove, and I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.  

We wound up at  Colonel Allensworth State Historical Park, just south of Corcoran on highway 43.  As we walked around, I was just happy to be outside enjoying the day.  The sky had some clouds, giving it some interest and the air was cool.  It rained recently, so the grass was green and there were swaths of small wildflowers  carpeting areas around the buildings.  From there I could see the snow on the Sierra’s through the haze.  As I admired the view I had, I could imagine what it would have been like just a little over 100 years ago.  

Out in the middle of the valley where it’s located, I could see clear skies giving the population of this small community a breathtaking sight of the far off mountains.   I thought of the safety and comfort of this special place.  You see, Allensworth was a town conceived, funded and built by and for African Americans.  And today as I walked through the houses and buildings that remain, I really thought about that community, and the concept of community in general.  

I could imagine the people in those houses, and the troubles, trials and possibly outright horror they may have already faced in their lives.  In Allensworth though, I wondered what did they find?  Was this finally a place where they had safety and peace?  A place where their children would be educated? A place where they could work hard and be rewarded for that work?  The town did not survive, but it wasn’t because of the community within, but the forces from without.  What would have happened if those forces had worked for and not against Allensworth?   What more amazing things would have been a part of their story?  

The older I get, the more I know that we are all the same. We all look for that place where our families will be safe, our children will be educated well, and we can achieve whatever we dare to dream.   All of this happens in the midst of community.  The people you work with, the children in our schools, the teller, cashier and the sanitation worker.  All of them, your neighbors.  And where goes one part of the community, more than likely will go all.  So …… where do we want to go?   

This weekend reminded me so much that I want it all…. For my family, those I know and for our community to thrive!  And I am grateful because I believe that that God has put enough “thrive” in this world for all of us.  I don’t have to hold on to mine so tightly afraid to lose it to someone else.  So if you look and don’t see yourself, don’t feel discouraged, your community is out there!  It may take some searching, but you can do it!  Go out and find them.  And when you do hold on tight, because your world will be open to so many new possibilities!  And in the end, your life and the lives in our community will be better for it!