As I drove onto the grounds of the Brookwood Community, a special place for adults with disabilities, I realized things are different there. Someone driving out as I drove in waved at me like I was a long-lost friend or friendly neighbor (I am old enough to remember when neighbors waved at each other, whether they knew each other or not). I assumed it was a case of mistaken identity. Or…could it be…just possibly, a place where such friendliness and warmth really exist? Yes.
While on a tour, I met one of the citizens (the Community’s term for their residents) who handed me a newsletter. With a broad smile, he pointed out the section that noted the date of their Christmas parties for the community and the Community. His smile signaled his own excitement. The cover of the newsletter provided the explanation to all that I was witnessing, but also presented a challenge for us all. The masthead states quite simply “Meaningful Happens Here.”
The simple truth in the three words begs the question regarding what we do in life and how we live. Can we say “Meaningful happens here” wherever we find ourselves? What is our role in that meaningfulness?
Again the Community reminds us that “meaningful” can be profound or sublime. It was meaningful that the citizen held such hope and anticipation for the big events, and that he could take the step to invite me—sublime meaningfulness in the moment. It is meaningful that the founder of the Community started with a farm and a small farmhouse, but she never wavered in her vision that now can be seen as a robust community affecting many lives in profound ways.
In each moment, each interaction, each action, can we say “Meaningful happens here?”