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United Church of Christ

533 Route 28, Harwich Port, MA 02646 | Phone: 508-432-1668

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Waves of Faith-November 22, 2017

The Book Review section of the Sunday New York Times profiled a book called Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty First Century.  by Jessica Bruder. It is the story of a 65-year-old single mom and grandmother named Linda May. She raised two daughters, mostly on her own, worked for a trucking company and as a cashier at Home Depot. She was a building inspector and owner of a flooring store. But now she works at a campground in the Southwest and lives in her mobile trailer. She says that she feels houseless but not homeless. 

The book chronicles the growing number of older people from the middle class and working class who spend their retirement crossing the country in their jeeps, campers and re-purposed buses. There is the former software executive who lost his savings in the 2008 crash and lost his house in a divorce; he lives with his dog in an Airstream and works in an Amazon warehouse. Others give tours and pick fruit and take tickets to make ends meet. They work hard for low wages and know how to find a free shower and a reasonable dentist. 

Jessica Bruder has done interviews with people in five states over the last three years. As the reviewer notes, “The Lindas of America are largely invisible…to Linda the American dream has been whittled down to self-sufficiency and the open road.”  Bruder’s book raises important questions about what it means to be a senior citizen today. It raises questions about how people make ends meet and find community. It raises questions about what health and welfare looks life for the working poor. It points to the resilience of the human spirit and to the need for a social welfare safety net.

I have some great memories of spending some summers recently here in a camper, but I am very grateful to be living everyday now in a house. So this review caught my eye and gave me a lot to think about. It also piqued my interest as I wondered how churches can work to support people in need like Linda May. Quite honestly, I have never thought about this population in this way. Lots to ponder.

Hope to see you Sunday when we complete our series on Sacred Stories. This week I will address another central theme in the Bible - the story of God’s love for us. 

As you celebrate Thanksgiving this week, know that I am grateful for all of you,

Rev. Susan


Posted: Wednesday November 22, 2017