Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing (1 Thess. 5:11)
I have never met another person who didn’t appreciate a kind word or a bit of encouragement.
When I was four years old, my father and mother decided to sign up my siblings and me for swim lessons. The location? The YMCA in St. Joseph, Mich. While I recall that YMCA building being a bit older and creaky with winding stairs that led downward to a seemingly remote locker room and pool, I still remember my experience there being an absolute joy. Why? Interestingly, not because I learned to swim there (although we would learn lifelong lessons from it). Instead, my distinct childhood memory is that people at the Y welcomed us, encouraged us and helped us know we were part of a community greater than ourselves.
We live in a world that faces myriad challenges, including increasing isolation and loneliness for many. Not surprisingly, research routinely confirms that living in community with others is critical for enjoying a healthy and fulfilling life. The Y recognizes the importance of community and our call to encourage one another so that we may “spur one another toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, but encouraging one another.” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
This year, be (or continue being) part of a community greater than ourselves at the Y. Join a new group, reach out to others, get to know our staff and families and introduce others to the Y as we renew our shared commitment to make a lifelong difference for the collective health and wellbeing of our community. And look for new opportunities we’ll be announcing to build even stronger community at the Y. Who knows… together, we might just change a 4-year-old’s (or 84-year-old’s) life!
-Charlie Grandy and the OrthoIndy Foundation YMCA Spiritual Emphasis Committee