I have slowly noticed an absence of people on my social media feeds, myself included. I am hoping this means everyone is spending more time in front of their family and less time in front of a screen. My absences have been just that, spending more time with my family, taking a mini-vacation, and focusing on them.

Family is very important to me and the time I spend with them is very valuable.

My definition of family may be different than someone else’s. But everyone has family, whether it’s by blood, by marriage, or just a strong connection to someone. Our community is like an extended family. You get to know each other and see each other almost every day. You watch each other’s kids grow up, and share in the excitement, successes, and celebrations of the community.

A small community also sees the tragic things and the devastating things that happen. Unfortunately, these situations are often talked about too much and the conversations begin to be dominated by gossip, speculation, accusations, and hate.

Despite the circumstances of whatever happened, as a community, AS A FAMILY, we should be supportive, consoling, and sending our prayers and thoughts to those effected. Not one of us can change the outcome. No amount of finger pointing or negative talk can go back and fix what happened. The “What if…” and “if only…” statements are not helpful.

What is helpful are the prayers, the listening, the supporting, and the consoling. As a community we need to be better. We have the power to put a halt to the negative talk, the gossip, and the accusations. As a family, we need to love on everyone who is effected by tragedy.

Remember that what happens in my family is my business. What happens in your family is your business. What happens in the neighbor’s family is their business. It might not be the way you would handle a situation, but it’s the way they handle it and that should be respected, not broadcast for everyone to dissect.

Heartbreak has hit our community and we should all do our part to help with the healing. We should also do our part to find a way to help those who need it before tragedy strikes. Teach each other to reach out and talk about what’s happening. Let people be vulnerable without judging them. Support each other when things aren’t going well. If someone reaches out to you, do not minimize their struggles. If you can’t do anything else, just be kind.

This community is family. Show your family some love.

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