“People who need people are the luckiest people in the world,” sings Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl.”
As we have worked on this Fall issue of ILLUMINE, themed COMMUNITY, I am reminded how lucky I have been to experience two communities that set a high bar for what I know to be the power of needing and connecting with people.
In my early 20s, I was part of one of these communities at St. Francis Xavier Church in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. Because the message spoke to my evolving faith journey, I felt the relevance of my tradition, the feeling of connection when we sang a song together, and what I would call “food for my soul.” I came to know a lot of individuals, but even just gathering together for Mass felt healing.
In my late 20s through early 30s, I met with an on-going group of women every other week. We called ourselves a “book group,” and we usually chose to read books with spiritual or feminist themes. What kept us coming together so consistently, however, was the time we took to share what was going on in our lives. We had the opportunity to listen and support each other through changes, crises and life questions.
While I haven’t found replacements for these two communities, I am very grateful for these experiences that taught me to trust the need to need people.
When discussing and developing the ideas we share with you in this issue, we were curious about how community so obviously works and why so many people agree that it takes a village.
Our writers explored the human need for connection even in this age of technology. While devices can keep us plugged in with our heads down, some of the most popular apps connect us to others, allowing us to post news or find needed services. We share videos documenting momentous experiences and everyday occurrences that encourage us to mindfully stop, notice and then share.
The balance between the advancement of technology and the need for personal accountability is profound. Blogs and vlogs connect strangers all over the world to bond over shared stories of vulnerability, loss and learning. At the same time, nothing can replace the in-person warmth of a hug, the relief of a shoulder rub or quietly holding the hands of a long-time friend.
Please enjoy stories of the communities that inspired our Fall issue and share with us your reflections on your favorite experiences of #illuminecommunity!
Lucky us, we need people!