During the month of December, I’ll be participating in a project called Reverb 10.  Reverb 10 is “an open online initiative that encourages participants to reflect on this year and manifest what’s next. It’s an opportunity to retreat and consider the reverberations of your year past, and those that you’d like to create in the year ahead.”

Each day during the month of December, participants are given a writing prompt to help them reflect on the year that is coming to an end . . . and imagine the year that is swiftly on its way.  

Today’s writing prompt, from Cali Harris, asks about Finding Community:

Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

Here is my response:

Thirty years ago, we all seemed very different from on another. We were branded by the groups we ran with. We were cheerleaders. Jocks. Braniacs. Slackers. Smokers. Potheads. Partiers. We were black.  We were white. We were straight — and though unfortunately we didn’t talk about it very much except to gossip or tease — we were gay. We were popular. We were unpopular. Bullies. Bullied. We were often lonely in a crowd but we were afraid to say so.

Class reunion in cyberspace

Class reunion in cyberspace

And now, three decades later, we are all smack dab in the middle of our lives.  And we are (many of us, anyway) on Facebook. In the years that have intervened, we have labored in the working world. We have gone to college. We have served in the military. We have been married. Divorced. We have had children (and some of us have even had grandchildren). We have made our way down treacherous paths. We have seen broad and breathtaking vistas.  We have come into our own. We have come out of the closet. We have lost parents, siblings, friends, and lovers. We have succumbed to addictions — and with grace and courage we have recovered. We have been challenged by illnesses. We have lost jobs. We have found faith. We have been supported by family and friends. We have struggled to make it on our own. We have endured great pains and felt great joys.  And in the process we have gained significant wisdom (much of which is ignored by our children in the same way we ignored our own parents back in the day).

Thirty years of living is a great leveler. And in the leveling, the walls that once separated us have crumbled. And it appears in retrospect that those walls were always illusory and mostly of our own creation.

People who would not have thought of joining one another for lunch three decades ago are now LOL-ing it up together online.  We are praying for one another’s loved ones. Cheering each other on in new ventures. Celebrating one another’s successes.  “Liking” one another’s corny jokes and deep thoughts.

It’s been a fabulous reunion. A true learning experience. And one that — like all true gifts — has been delightful to the degree that it was unexpected.

In 2012 we’ll gather again in person. We can’t wait to throw our arms around one another . . . and we say so.