Communities, like any civilization or organization, are born, live, and fade. To focus on how communities live, one must consider how they breathe.
As persons enter a community, they are drawn in with long, life-giving breath. The lungs of gathering fill and persons interact intensely, vibrantly, like tiny little oxygen molecules do their tiny dance. And just when it seems like the lungs of gathering can’t hold a single more person, yet another is breathed in, and another, and another.
Communities also breathe out. Persons leave gatherings for many reasons. Time, distance, disagreement, misunderstanding, shift in passion, unplanned or uncontrollable disruption. When a community breathes out it doesn’t mean it’s dead. When a community is at its peak capacity and starts the slow leak or even the blustering gale scattering its members, it can feel like death because it isn’t “what it used to be.”
But that’s how community works.
We are breathed in, we are breathed out. When we