Creating Community

By Hunter Burns, Intern Summer 2018

Before arriving in Nashville, I came from a small town of about 330 people. It was a farming community in southwest Minnesota where all the retired farmers gossip at the gas station for their entertainment. Growing up in a small community, I learned to keep my crowd small. Yet, it’s hard to not know everyone and connect with everyone in a small community.

Then, I decided to make the journey to Nashville for the summer, where I completed an internship with Open Table Nashville. When I arrived in Nashville, I knew nobody. It was a new place. I had new coworkers. I had to find new friends. For a while, it was quite challenging. It seemed so daunting to go out and find new friends, a new community.

Through my experiences with Open Table Nashville, I have learned that we have the power to add to the community. We have the ability to form relationships and create bonds that cannot be broken. Many of our friends on the streets long for a sense of community. Some are fortunate enough to find that community, and others might struggle at times. Open Table is able to foster some community through movie nights, resource shelters, and other gatherings for our friends on the streets.

Like some of our friends, Open Table Nashville became my community.

As I complete my internship and head back to Minnesota, I won’t merely miss the city or my friends at Open Table Nashville. I will miss my friends on the streets. They go by many names…Greg. Harry. Susan. Brian. Sharon…to name a few. A community is whom we surround ourselves with. A community will give the shirt off their back for someone in need. A community will wash each other’s feet and share in lively conversation. A community will stand together in solidarity and advocate for change and social justice.

I encourage you to connect with your community. Find out what community means to you. Grow with your community. Be inspired by your community. Ignite your community in social change.

Lastly, I charge you to be a friend to everyone you meet, and don’t forget to smile today! ☺