The other day I watched a documentary on Netflix called Dreams of a Life. It tells the story of 38 year old Joyce Vincent, who died in her apartment in 2003 and was not discovered until 3 years later.
The film itself was very well done and wasn’t so much about the logistics of why she wasn’t missed earlier but rather the social reasons for why she was so alone that nobody noticed she was gone for 3 years. The filmmaker interviewed former boyfriends and co-workers that she had, and painted a picture of who this woman was.
You can go watch the film yourself, but it all amounts to the fact that she wasn’t really connected to any kind of community and she had no real relationships. Whenever she got a boyfriend, she simply adopted that person’s network. Her boyfriend’s community was her community; his interests were her interests, etc. She was afraid of letting people in and thus never really developed strong friendships.
It made me think how thankful I should be to have a church community that cares and to be in a place where someone will notice if you’re gone. (Sidenote: That’s why it speaks volumes if you notice somebody isn’t at church and you check up on them to see how they’re doing. It shows that you care.) In pre-marital counseling, we’ve talked about how our deepest longing is to be significant, and important and to be remembered. When we are God’s children, we are never forgotten. We may die and leave this earth but our names are forever written in the Book of Life.
Still, it says something about the cultural fabric of society when community has lost its place. Church communities are powerful because they are centered around the worship of the one true God. The Bible talks about putting others before yourself, and being a servant. American Individualism flies in the face of that and encourages people to go it alone (the woman in the film was from the UK, but I’ve digressed). When you go it alone, don’t be surprised to find yourself lonely.
With Thanksgiving tomorrow, it’s important to treasure what matters most. Our God, our salvation, our family, our friends, our church. In 1 Corinthians 1, Paul speaks of his thankfulness for the church in Corinth and their faith and God’s faithfulness. Let that be your model. And don’t be that person that never reached out and connected with others. Don’t coast through life. In the end, we all die. But for the Christian, death is just a doorway.
P.S. Sorry if the post is a little disjointed…I have a headache the size of Texas. But if you read it, let me know what you think!