Written by Lori Thiessen

With apologies to Charles Dickens, I think his opening sentence to A Tale of Two Cities pretty much sums up where we are at right now.

The best of times, of course, comes from the inauguration of Barack Obama. This is the moment when Hope has made a visit to so many around the world for the first time in a long time.  Mr Obama’s election also gives us hope that true positive change is possible. The vision of a better world has become a little more focussed.

But I think this Hope that many of us feel must be tempered with a certain amount of realism. We are also facing an economic downturn. I heard on the news this am that the Bank of Canada is forecasting Canada’s economic growth in negative numbers for this year.

I live in the province of British Columbia and BC’s economy is somewhat insulated from the effects of the economic slump unlike Ontario whose economy rests heavily on the manufacturing industry.

But wherever you live, I think it is important to cling onto the Hope presented to us by this day, keep working hard and we will get through this economy slump.  I think we can comfort ourselves by knowing that our parents and grandparents have gone through much worse and survived.

My mother describes her memories of living through the Depression in a small farming community in Saskatchewan. If someone fell ill, the women would come out with food and look after the home and children while the men would take care of the farm and livestock. If your neighbour didn’t have enough food and you did, you shared what you had with them because it might be you next time who wouldn’t have enough.  Everyone one helped each other because if they didn’t the community wouldn’t make it.

So now is the time to polish up your vision of a better world. Take a moment to realize that everyone is going through something. Help others with their struggle, if it only means giving them a warm smile and a bit of slack.

It’s time to examine your view of community: what is means,  how it works and how you want to fit into it.

Here’s an invitation to join the community of cafe commuters. Share your experiences and views by filling out the Coffee Shop Office Survey and be entered into the prize draw. You can find the survey at http://www.coffeeshopsurvey.com. Encourage your friends and family to share their cafe commuting experiences, too!

Q: What do you think of the concept “community”?

Thanks for dropping by and I’ll save your seat for next time!