As a general statement, our individual wiring means we want to be connected. Regardless of how we energize our souls, alone in silence or in the chaos with people around, there is a longing deep within to be linked with others. Relationships, experiences, and memories had shape and body because of the individuals involved with us. In good times as well as tough ones, we look to those around us for strength and fellowship.
Sometimes it does not work. A off the cuff comment made by a friend recently is haunting me. “I spend a lot of my time alone.”
It was his was of explaining why he had lots of time for reflection. Embedded in the comment was more emotion than I knew how to handle. I was struggling to describe what I felt he was saying at the time. It did not make sense until I read another’s lament and the pieces fell into place. With few words, I felt he had said “To my enemies I’m a monster; I’m ridiculed by the neighbors. My friends are horrified; they cross the street to avoid me.” (Psalm 31.11)
Life reminds me that words are not the answer. From my experience, I know that one needs the presence of the other. Superficial chatter is not going to suffice. One longs for heart and soul. Like great music, our hearts need the touch from outside. Virtually, tangibly, it all makes a difference.
I wish I had confidence that my response was the right one. Candidly, I am not sure it was. I do know that the aloneness continues. The next time we meet there is a list of things I want to do with him. I am not sure that the specifics matter. I want to connect – deeply and for a time, if only to let him know that we are on a journey together. The world will try to isolate us but we can fight against the outcome. There are opportunities to connect, windows of time to share heart and mind. It’s a priority worth seizing.