Gathering in all ways

Just after Thanksgiving, I read a super interesting article in the New York Times that made me rethink the way I gather with some of my very best friends: my running buddies.

The article, When Some Turn to Church, Others Go to Crossfit, discussed the ways in which members of modern society fill societal gaps that used to be associated with church by other groups such as Crossfit.

“CrossFit is family, laughter, love and community,” Ms. (Ali) Huberlie told the researchers, who quoted her in their study, “How We Gather.” “I can’t imagine my life without the people I’ve met through it.”

And while I’ve never done Crossfit, I can completely see this as something that happens with the trail running group I’ve been a part of since 2009. Almost every week for more than six years, I’ve gotten together with the same core group to run. We talk about our lives, get stress off our chests, tell stories, brag about our families, provide an ear for those in need, bring each other treats, go out to dinner, snag drinks, bake cookies (party!), and, of course find great pleasure in our weekly gathering for miles of fun.

Moreover, this description of how the members treat each other was particularly striking to me:

Skeptics might scoff that CrossFit is just a gym. But in an interview this week, Mr. (Greg) Glassman said that for many participants it is obviously much more.

“Down the road,” Mr. Glassman said, the core CrossFit values — which he defined as accountability, community and personal transformation — will “translate into, ‘I’m going to take my Camry into the Toyota dealer tomorrow, and will someone from the gym pick me up?’ And of course they will. ‘I’m going to move — will people from the gym help me?’ Of course they will.”

I wouldn’t say my running group is a church, but I’d say it definitely has elements of being that important, frequent gathering I can’t imagine living without.

Do you have a consistent gathering that is crucial to your daily life?


11 thoughts on “Gathering in all ways”

  1. What a great post. It sounds like no matter what brings like minded individuals together, they being to relate and rely on each other and become family. That rings true, not only for me personally, but for society in general. We no longer have the luxury or safety net that extended related families offered, but we still have the needs. We turn to our created extended families for those needs, and they step up to the plate. Kind of restores faith in humanity when you think about it that way.


  2. That sense of community is so important. I often reflect that I’m friendly with lots of people, but not really close friends with anyone – not as you describe. Most of my friends are online or live too far away (or are too busy) for things like getting together for tea and cookies and good conversation. It’s something that makes me pretty sad if I think about it too much (so I try not to).


  3. My special bonding group consists of 5 empty-nester couples. We get together to discuss articles, and so my daughter dubbed us “Pamphlet Club.” But it’s become so much more!


  4. I have a group I think of as the “family” we chose. Most of us worked for the same newspaper either right out of college or shortly after. We’ve shared our entire adult lives – kids, jobs, holidays, numerous moves, vacations. We’re more scattered now, but when we get together, it feels like no time has passed at all.


  5. Such great comments, ladies. I agree with all of you! Kait, you were way more profound in describing our needs:) Mary, I feel the same way about being sad about not seeing online friends! Sue, I love your Pamphlet Club. Ha!


  6. Love this post, Sarah! What a cool article! I’ve been a part of the same book club for as long as I’ve known my husband (8 years now!). We meet every month to talk about books, or sometimes just what’s going on in our lives. They’re an amazing group of women and I’m so very grateful for their friendship 🙂


  7. About four months ago I joined Jazzercise. While the big purpose was to get stronger and thinner, the surprise takeaway was the camaraderie extended to me by others in the classes. As a writer, most of my day is spent in solitude with spurts of interaction with a limited number of people. Jazzercise gives me an opportunity to be part of a larger community, providing health in more ways than I thought it would.


  8. I’ve often explored groups that represent interests in my life. Sometimes I fit in, other times I remain an outsider. I’m constantly surprised when groups that represent themselves as communities are more like cliques–unwilling to let in outsiders. I guess that’s why so many people start their own groups!


  9. I used to hike with a few other ladies, my age and older, every Friday and Sunday morning. Anchorage, Alaska is at the foot of the Chugach mountain range. It’s only half an hour from anywhere in town to the wild. But Alaska is hard on old(er) people. Two moved away and the third was out for a year with injuries. There are people who hike alone but having had three bear encounters, I am not one of them.

    So now its me and the dog walking around the neighborhood listening to mysteries on Audible.


  10. Sounds like such a lovely group. Your post makes me miss my Y membership! Also, it reminds me of my good Y buddy. We used to have coffee after workouts. Her husband referred to it as “coffee and fellowship” jokingly. Your post puts a different spin on that joke. 🙂


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