Building Community: iPhone and Church
Got back from the McGlynn family reunion two weeks ago. A few things stand out from those five days.
Video for Jim McGlynn
Jim is my wife’s cousin who is struggling with cancer. My daughter, Katy, suggested we make a video for Jim and his family. I set up a makeshift studio on the sofa next to a window. One at a time, fourteen people came to say a few words to Jim on video.
Lots of childhood memories. Appreciation of Jim’s storytelling and humor. Carol said, “You made us laugh, and you made us happy.” Colleen said what many were feeling, “It is going to be hard for everybody to lose you.” Luke was succinct, “I love you, man.”
I made a short video from these interviews and sent a link to Jim’s family. Jim’s wife, Lisa, said that after returning from a doctor’s appointment, the family looked at the video, “We laughed, shed a few tears, and most of all, felt loved.”
In rural Wisconsin there are lots of photo ops:
Church – an atheist goes to church.
Shar McGlynn invited me to go to church with her. I responded, “I’d love to but Satan won’t let me.” She said, “Well you come to church and we’ll beat Satan out of you.” Lots of laughter.
Turns out I did go to church with Shar. A very nice experience. Shar introduced me all around as a “friend from California,” leaving out the atheist part. People couldn’t have been nicer. Good music and lots of conversation.
Shar lost her husband a few years ago. The church community is a huge support for her. I was impressed with the warmth everyone expressed for Shar. A strong sense of community.
America’s Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, has declared loneliness a public health catastrophe. The Atlantic just ran articles by Hilary Clinton and David Brooks citing loneliness as a condition that can lead to political violence. Building community is one way to reverse this damage to our country.
There are lots of ways to build community…bowling clubs, book clubs, birdwatching, political action groups…whatever. But on this trip, I saw a great community in Shar’s church, and how the McGlynn family took time to make a video for their ailing cousin.