One of the hardest Gospel readings: Matthew 10:37-42
The allure of paganism

Family Reunions

As part of my post-lockdown recovery, I've been reconnecting with friends and family and over the past month attended two reunions.

With the advent of social media, I think these events have faded.  Certainly my high school graduating class has abandoned the in-person concept and people just follow each other and exchange random photos via Facebook.

This is a shame, because there is no substitute for the prolonged intimacy of a face-to-face conversation.  One of the issues with social media is its selectivity - people show only what they want you to see.  This in turn creates alienation from the real world, and many people develop feelings of inferiority and even depression because of it.  Either they see everyone else living apparently joyous, successful lives or they feel compelled to create a false version of themselves and dread its eventual discovery.

Of course, people can 'put on airs' at a traditional gathering, wearing fancy clothes, bragging of their accomplishments, but these are harder to sustain.  Especially among family, one of the joys of getting together is the lack of any pretense.  Everyone knows everyone's business, and so people can be themselves and relax.

My children have long enjoyed these gatherings, in large part because I am an only child, so more distant cousins are the only ones they have.   (My wife's relations live in distant states, so seeing them is a rarity.)  There is something surreal in meeting one's second cousin twice-removed, but only because American society is so mobile and atomized.

It is refreshing therefore to partake in what used to be commonplace - mass gatherings of kin for the sale of renewing acquaintance, meeting new members, and generally hanging out and talking about old times.


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