I don’t know about you but in this ‘don’t have a minute between meetings collision of zoom world and back to normal’, it seems there is never enough time – enough time to be thorough, enough time to be considerate, enough time to rest and so much more. In these really challenging times, I am grateful for both my colleagues in community development who remind me to just take time and for the wonderful learning opportunities that help me understand how valuable stopping to just pause and reflect is for both my sanity and for my work.
I just spent three days in rural America in the heart of the deaths of despair country meeting with people who love their community and who are at loss of what to do as suicides escalate and drugs find their way to younger and younger community members. As our team reflected on what we learned, we thought of the tangled narratives around what a great community this is and not enough people care to help us change things, and how getting stuck between these narrative strands immobilizes people and strengthens the narrative of how nothing can change. As we struggled to really understand what we are learning and to consider what role we can play in a positive change process, I thought about the many lives in despair or moving in that direction, and the absolute importance of community development in addressing this challenge.
In this extraordinarily complicated world we live in, we are called to embrace new learning opportunities connecting health and community and to generate emergent practices at the nexus of health and community. To do so, we must indeed, stop to consider and reflect, especially with others if we do want to make a positive difference. I look forward to learning from your work and to sharing our learning in service to this call.
Chair, CDS Board of Directors