Communities at their best, are very crucial in our life. They are a wonderful opportunity that we are presented with every day. When an effective community is working cohesively, it provides us with more than we realize. It provides us with the obvious such as friendships and conversations, but it also provides us with debates and differences of opinion. It provides us comfort but also the chance to get out of your comfort zone. It gives us conversations but also disagreements that only strengthen us. But, communities are not always their best. Many times communities are still being built, strengthened, or are a work in progress. Communities make mistakes, and it makes sense that they do because people make mistakes. Therefore, we may find disagreements or situations that impede our improvement. In any case, however, the most important part will never be the difficulties we face, it will be our response to them.

Many of you might know that I am a soccer player. A couple of years ago, I joined a new team. I found myself very nervous as well as excited to begin a new journey in my soccer career. On the first day, I met my coach for the first time. My coach and I did not get off to a great start. We never seemed to get to know each other well enough to click. For the rest of the season, I was not playing as much and as well as I wanted to. I was being benched for the games and was not performing to the standards that I had for myself. Additionally, my teammates were another difficulty. While some were very friendly, others were a little more distant from me. I was struggling to connect with both my coach and my team. As a result, I had not unlocked this community yet. This was the point where I could have given up. I had the opportunity to wave goodbye and move on. Things were not going my way because I had not found my community yet. I was not having as much fun as I have had in the past, but I decided to stick it out. I decided to stay in the mess, in hopes of creating something better. Eventually, I realized that I was in the middle of the challenge, and the reward would soon be coming my way. Before getting there, I would have to endure things that nobody wants to have to endure. Eventually, after many practices and a few years of effort, my soccer community had been found. I was now close and bound with the rest of my team. We were working together as a single unit. I found myself in a place that I was happy to be in and with people I was happy to be around. Looking back, the easy decision would have been to exit the situation and distance myself from the community. But that would not have been as rewarding as enduring the challenge. Only after we experience and undergo the test, can we come out with something stronger than before.

I’m sure I am not alone in this experience. I am sure that you have struggled just as hard or even more than I have. I am sure all of you have faced uncertainty and opposition. Some of you may have joined something that you were new to. Some of you may have struggled to connect with a community or classmate. Some of you may have been challenged with a group project or collaborative task, but like I said before, it is our response that matters. The challenge or trial will not be what we remember, however our success of overcoming it will. We should choose to push on and grind it out. Accept the pain knowing you will come out with a more capable community and version of yourself. When we distance ourselves from communities and others, we do harm to ourselves. However if we suffer the pain, but look on the bright side, we will eventually find success. This is my challenge for you. The next time you think about giving up on a group or community, think about what could be. Understand there will be more possibilities on the other side of the challenge you are facing. Once we do so, we come out with a community that is stronger than ever.