Many have found comfort in the solitude of self quarantine and stay home orders. The herds of humans hammering highways, gone. Reductions in raging rush hours, heavenly. Corralled crowds cattling coveted spaces of consumption and spoil, a thing of recent past. These events have been therapeutic and music to their wellbeing. Solitude is sanctuary and sacred for them.
However, others are experiencing a darker side to physical distancing. It is a space they previously escaped through continued connections. It is the warm embrace of a friend over here and hand on shoulder from a loved one from over their. It is the energy buzzing in the air from the favorite coffee house, the humming hearts of a book store, the gathered togetherness of a house of worship, or the tickling chatter from a near by boutique. These spaces are missed.
On the surface these spaces appear to be mere moments between meetings, stops before destinations, and transitions between tasks. Yet, these faces, sites, conversations, and sounds were more than mere moments, stops, and transitions. They were spaces of reprieve. They were spaces of repair. They were spaces of restoration. These were spaces of battle and war. They were spaces countering war within fighting against an unseen enemy but deeply felt when experienced. This menace being mastered by the moments along the way, warm embrace, and chit chatter amongst the “how may we help yous” and “see you laters” is loneliness.
Loneliness is not related to alone. It is it’s own animal. Its nature mocks the psyche into the misery of feeling no connection, no belonging, no value, and no meaning. Beating the soul into submission that it is nothing, no thing.
Connecting with others is no longer optional. It can no longer be superficial. It has to be intentional and meaningful. We will never know how much a phone call, text, or video chat means to someone. We will never know how many lives are rescued from the lashes of loneliness simply by connecting and creating virtual communities.
Be safe. Love your neighbor. You are your brother’s keeper.