Lately I’ve been thinking about community, it’s importance in society at large, and for me in particular. Although I have a good amount of solitude in my life, I also have many communities: family, friends, and church are the big categories, but within them are many little overlapping ones.
Case in point. Friday I went to Andover Newton Theological School to celebrate the retirement of Bob Pazmino, Professor of Christian Education. When I was there (1998-2003) getting my MDiv, Bob was a mentor and friend. We had much in common through our writings for teachers: he for Christian educators, me for elementary school teachers. His memoir, A Boy Grows Up in Brooklyn, was a catalyst for me to write Very Grateful: The Story of My Hundred Year Old Mother and Me.
That evening of celebration rekindled many communities from my student days at ANTS. Communities with professors, administrators, students, and families, and each with overarching theme of writing. A long time friend asked for encouragement to write when she retires in June; a graduating student explained how he wants to write about climate change; one of Bob’s cousins told me she had read Joyful Learning when she was a kindergarten teacher. Kirk Jones, my preaching professor, asked me what I was writing these days, and then encouraged keep at it. He and I are going to be in touch.
Yes, we have our major communities, which for me are family, friends, and church. And we have our small ones, too. They flow among each other, coming and going, vibrating and fading, but all part of the whole which constitutes our lives.