Building Community and How Much It Really Matters

| 3/15/2011 2:32:45 PM

KC ComptonSince the beginning of our redesigned GRIT, we have lifted up the idea of building community as one of our core values and have encouraged our readers to reach out to each other and to their neighbors to create and strengthen the ties that bind. GRIT people help each other. It’s who we are, right? 

This idea is as practical as it is idealistic: We all need help sometimes, and we never know when that time might come. Rural people rarely lose sight of this value – we just help each other out because that’s how it’s done. Folks from urban and suburban areas tend to treasure anonymity and independence a bit more, but the feedback and great letters we get here in the GRIT offices tell us that people from many backgrounds are finding all sorts of wonderful ways to cooperate with and care for each other. We all know from personal experience – and from watching the news lately – that whatever trials life throws our way, we’ll get by better working together to meet the challenge.  

I’ve recently had such a reminder of this I still get choked up just thinking about it. In early February I got a scary medical diagnosis, followed by major surgery and some complications. I’m well on my way to recovery now, though I’ve had more antibiotics pumped into me over the past four weeks than my body has seen in several decades. Still, I’m back at work, taking it easy and recuperating in a sensible way as I can manage, given how much I hate sitting still.  

Despite the scare and the discomfort, I’m grateful for so much – beginning with the medical technology that spotted the problem in the first place and the skilled surgical team that made me confident in the outcome throughout the experience. I could have done without the staph infection afterward, but I know these bugs are rampant in hospitals everywhere, and I’m thankful that the deluge of antibiotics knocked this one back.  

What I’m most grateful for, however, is my amazing community, beginning with my son and daughter, who came to be with me for the week of my surgery and the week of recuperation afterward. All those years struggling as a single mom to make sure they “turned out,” and now, these two amazing adults just hear the words, “I’m having surgery,” and they book flights to Kansas.  

My friend Nancy T. is the main conspirator in this community project of supporting me. Nancy is a retired third-grade teacher, short of stature and long of spirit. She came to be with my daughter during my surgery and then organized, unbeknownst to me, KC-Watch, in which each of several friends agreed to physically see me every day of the week. They brought soup, they came by just to say Hello, they took me out to lunch when I felt well enough. Other friends volunteered to walk my dog, friends at work covered for me so I could rest and not worry about the deadlines that define our world.  People sent cards and called and texted and prayed and just generally let me know I was on their minds and in their hearts. In short, they circled the wagons and weren’t going to let me not be taken care of. 

S.M.R. Saia
3/22/2011 7:51:18 AM

KC, so sorry to hear about your illness, and I'm glad to hear that you're getting back on your feet. Thanks so much for sharing your story and reminding us how important it is to care for one another. I'm sending all my thoughts for a speedy recovery your way. Take care.

K.C. Compton
3/21/2011 9:41:24 AM

Hi Dave, [p] I see we haven't solved the paragraph issue yet. :-< [p]Yes, I should be here in May and it would be good to see you. The only reason I wouldn't is that my little baby daughter is going to give birth sometime during that time to my first grandchild. But that's a pretty legit reason for ducking out, yes? Her due date is June 2, but we know how that goes ... Although both my children were born precisely on their due dates. (The last time I've been actually on time for anything in my life.)[p]I'm feeling well now, though I do tend to run out of steam in the middle of the afternoon. But considering the challenges my poor body has gone through lately, I'll take that. [p] And yes, that willingness to help out and lend a hand is such an important part of our DNA as American people. We wouldn't be us without it. --KC

Nebraska Dave
3/18/2011 8:00:07 PM

K.C. Thank goodness you are OK. I'm having issues with my keyboard and thought that the paragraph break was a keyboard issue until I read Cindy's remark. It seems that Americans in general will bind together for a common goal when the chips are down for a person or group of persons. We will send out money, help, food, and some even go themselves to places all around the globe to help those in need. I pray that we as a nation do not ever lose that heirloom "help those in need" seed brought here with our ancestors. (breaker breaker) I hope that you will be up for a lunch in May as the volunteer group I run with will be in Burlington Kansas for the month of May. They will be working on a new church sanctuary. I won't be there the entire month but most likely a couple weeks. (breaker breaker) I hope you continue to gain strength and health each day. (breaker breaker) Have a great Grit Editor day.

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