By Brenda Black
There was a time of back porch singing. Aunts, uncles, cousins and kinfolk of every generation gathered regularly. Relatives grew up in the same neighborhood or trickled throughout a county. Family and childhood friends remained near, available to lend a hand when needed. The modern era looks considerably different. It is one of isolation and intentional independence. Families scatter across the globe and cousins are those people you meet every ten years at a dreaded reunion of strangers.
Sure, there are means of immediate contact no matter the geographical distance. Still, a warm hug or firm handshake is hard to acquire through cyberspace. A reassuring look or knowing advice often comes after the fact, diminishing it's timely significance. Spontaneous laughter or a trail of conversation that meanders through family jokes and legacies is hard to recreate apart from direct contact and in-the-moment opportunities.
Humans were created to connect. Science confirms the necessity of community and some have determined that survival of the fittest is not all it's cracked up to be if it means you are left alone in your particular species. Cooperation, not just competition and selfishness, is critical to survival. And that means knowing your neighbors as well as the relatives.
It took a thesis, and a group of neuroscientists, anthropologists and psychologists years of study to discover the importance of community. Oddly enough, God invented our need for others as one of His fundamental aspects of creation --present since the foundation of time. He designed us to desire fellowship, then God established the bonds of marriage and instituted the network of family according to that masterful design. Christ modeled fellowship and friendship, while the Holy Spirit was imparted for constant companionship. We were never intended to be alone.
Community is critical to families and neighbors. It's also imperative in days of convenient techno isolation. Interaction is a fleeting social skill being lost by a generation that would rather bond with a blog, tweet, post or pin, than play catch with the neighbor kid or learn from a grandparent. Can we just make eye contact, PLEASE, once again, and stop talking to each other through a selfie, quick-witted fingers or the top of our downward tilted heads!
Loneliness is the consequence for indifference toward humanity, family ties, or the people next door, whom you've never met. Loneliness is the by-product from technologically connected, but emotionally disconnected people. One day we'll wake up and find we know no one who truly knows us, unless we connect in real time, real ways, with real emotions and human touch. When you need someone in a moment of tragedy or triumph, who are you going to call? With whom will you share your sorrow and grief? How can you celebrate exciting news if you don't have people – crucial, important, loving people in your life? Trust me, a facebook follower or fellow blogger won't be enough. You're going to long for someone to be close and genuine. One day, when you finally have the time to sit on the porch, I hope you aren't still looking at your phone.
We are a community, we are family, we are people, and we need each other desperately.
The Word's Out - Brenda Black 2015©