Friday, February 8, 2008

We've got to stop meeting like this

This afternoon I attended a visitation service for a woman who passed away this week. I didn't stay long. Most of the people there were family and I only knew the two people from our church. In the short time I was there I did manage to overhear a familiar phrase. It's a phrase that I think I've heard at every visitation and funeral service I've every been to. I'm pretty sure I've said it before too. It goes something like this, "It's nice to see everyone, but it would be much better under different circumstances."

What is it about these unplanned family reunions that make us say things like that? What do we mean by this? Is this just one of those things you say at funerals when you're not really sure what your supposed to say? I grant the fact that I tend to over analyze people's words. But I one of those people that believe there is an element of truth in everything we say. Not that everything we say is true, but everything we say has some intention behind it.

To me this boils down to a devaluing of personal relationships. We've become pretty independent and have managed to operate with as few contacts as possible. I know I'm pretty guilty of this. I don't keep in touch with my college friends as much as I should. I don't call my parents as much as they would like. Even my prayer life is more consistently inconsistent than I would like it to be. Why are we more comfortable with doing life on our own?

The reality is we were wired for relationships. We value our independence but then flock back to Facebook in order to connect with as many "friends" as we can find. We need--I need community. But community takes work, time, and energy, and we are lazy people. Therefore we are back to reunions at funerals. And the problem with that is there's at least one person who isn't there anymore to enjoy the company.


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