We need community.

My love of country music started with Johnny.

When I was about 19, I worked in a county western music bar in my small hometown. I loved and still love the storytelling aspect of country music.

The group that worked there was an eclectic mix. We cooked and waited on tables and served drinks until the doors closed at 2am. I was in college and found myself working with the mother of a four year old who was about my same age. Her boyfriend was a piano player (with a bit of a drug issue). The cook was a 35 year old man who had lived in his grandmother’s spare room all of his life. He wrote song lyrics when he couldn’t sleep. The bartender was studying to be a chiropractor in his homeland of New Zealand and was genuinely intrigued with the collection of bands that played on our stage.

Every night after the doors closed and while the world slept we would sit for about an hour and just talk about the night. The music, the people, the community that that loved our small time traveling bands.

I loved that job. And those people.

I loved hearing the mom’s boyfriend play piano (which he had learned to play by ear) as we talked late at night. He didn’t have a piano so he only got to play there as we cleaned up or in the piano store at the local mall. I loved hearing the cook shyly read us his latest lyrics. I loved the New Zealander’s fresh-eyed take on our customers and music.

It felt like an experience I would carry with me forever and itreally has been. I learned something magical that summer. I learned this simple notion:

Community will form naturally and organically when you share common experiences and passions. Even people who at first blush appear very different will form really strong bonds around shared interests.

We have been tasked with empowering our community of Greenville, South Carolina to share our story with the world. It’s an exciting opportunity and project. And it’s had me thinking a lot about the role diversity plays in making a community wonderful.

Each community that we have had the honor of working with has been rich with amazing and diverse people from all walks of life. People whose normal relationship boundries have been set aside because of their shared passion.

I love seeing relationship walls come down.

Come on share. When have you seen this simple truth at work in your life?

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