A friend and I have a “secret handshake” joke about communities. She does not like the term. I use it all the time in our discourse just to good-naturedly annoy her.

Yeah, I’m like that sometimes. Sigh. I’m working on it. I promise.

What is a community?

When I right click on the term on my iMac, Wikipedia gives me helpful hints, as always.

The term community has two distinct commutative meanings: 1) Community can refer to a usually small, social unit of any size that shares common values. The term can also refer to the national community or international community, and 2) in biology, acommunity is a group of interacting living organisms sharing a populated environment.

Now, last time I checked, there were roughly seven billion people on the blue marble (and I haven’t counted the last two births in Sydney this afternoon, because, well, it’s still early morning here and that just freaks me out without enough coffee in me yet).

One birth every eight seconds.

One death every twelve seconds.

A net gain of one new soul every thirteen seconds.

There are a truckload, a big earth-moving-vehicle-kind-of-truck-load of us, on this planet. We are living interactive living organisms sharing a populated environment. But that’s not all, is it? We are so much more than that.

We sometimes form little groups, little cliques, little clubs. We have secret decoder rings so we can read each other’s messages. We have secret handshakes. We speak specialized languages that help us keep others out (admit it) as much as bring others into the fold. We wear special colors that identify us, endear us, and sometimes vilify us to others inside and outside our own circles. We meet at prescribed places and times to air our frustrations, plot our revenge, elevate our heroes, plan our celebrations, and to mourn our dead. We live and breathe together. Always, if nothing else, together.

One such group, among the myriad others, is the #bcsm group on Twitter.

This group of men and women blow me away. I have learned so much from them, and I continue to learn every day. They have enlightened me about cancer, friendship, coping, living, loving, and maintaining good mental health in the face of unimaginable stress.

They enjoy every minute of every day of their lives, because many of them know that the remaining days are already numbered. They rejoice when good news comes, and they rally, I mean rally, around one of their own when stumbles happen. When a hero among them passes away, a more loving and caring passage to the other side could not be scripted. Some of them, friends of mine, take the time to ask about me, my struggles, and my hopes and fears even as they process their latest scans or set up their next chemo appointment.





Common goals.

A common will to squeeze every drop out of life on this planet, whether that life lasts eight more months or thirty more years.

Men and women of the #bcsm community, and I use that word with the very highest respect I can muster, I salute you.

I am honored to share the planet with you, and I hope to be sharing it for many more years to come.