Grateful for Community

circle of chairsLast week, I spoke with a women’s group that meets in a church basement not far from where I live. I enjoy this group—they represent various ages and ethnicities. They’re good listeners. And they love to laugh.

I spoke on times when feeling truly thankful to God for blessings received is a challenge. I knew that a few of these women, gathered on folding chairs in this brightly-lit basement on a Tuesday morning, were not awash in gratitude. Tired eyes and solemn expressions told me all I needed to know. And, as I spoke, I watched tears rise in some of their eyes.

At a break, the person in charge of refreshments made an announcement.

“Okay,” she began, hands on her hips, her tone playful. “So I’m grateful that when I went into the kitchen to make the coffee today, the floor was sticky and the soles of my shoes stuck. Furthermore, I’m grateful that the coffee cart tipped over because one of its wheels is missing. I’m grateful that I had to get down on hands and knees to clean it up.”

By the end of her rant, all of us were laughing.

And I felt grateful for community. For church basements and circles of chairs in libraries or bookshops or living rooms, where people gather together, listen to each other, and let tears fill their eyes. I was grateful for the healing, inexplicable calm that comes over us when we gather together like these women had on that autumn morning.

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Jennifer Grant
Jennifer Grant is the author of Wholehearted Living: Five-Minute Reflections for Modern Moms and two previous works of nonfiction about family life: Love You More and MOMumental. A former health and parenting columnist for the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times Media newspapers, Grant contributes to her.meneutics, Fullfill, and other publications. Grant lives with her husband and four children in the suburbs of Chicago.


  1. This makes me feel guilty hat I find things so hard sometimes. We live in Sheltered Housing. It has many aspects of Community Living. Since we came to live here, 6 years ago!! I STILL struggle to learn how to love my neighbour and keep my comments to myself! Help!

  2. Oh, I know this sort of gratefulness well. Times of others comforting me, times of privilege to share the burden of another. These are the experiences that have made my life rich and beautiful.


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