Letter: The truth is, we miss each other

Posted 3/19/20

Much has been said and written about the isolation created by our fixation of social media and handheld devices. People have been seen bumping into light poles and walking into traffic. Four people …

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Letter: The truth is, we miss each other

Posted

Much has been said and written about the isolation created by our fixation of social media and handheld devices. People have been seen bumping into light poles and walking into traffic. Four people sit at a restaurant table with all four staring down at their cell phones.

As vivid and as real as techno-isolation is, it now pales in comparison to the isolation felt as a result of the attempts to contain the coronavirus. Schools are closed, sports arenas are empty and restaurants are either half full or half empty; optimist and pessimist alike noting the uneasy feel to the whole thing.

So, why this lament over isolation to begin with? We have been staving people off  with Scrooge-like disdain for years. Our differing positions on life, morals, politics or even how fast we drive in traffic all serve to support the viewpoint that we are better off peering through the blinds of our living room window than having anything to do with being with anyone who upsets our sacred apple cart.

We now find ourselves in the position of getting exactly what we have been looking for: a world where we stand six feet away from each other convinced that it will somehow make us happy. But quite the opposite; we are not happy. We would rather seek happiness in a closet filled with toilet paper and disinfectant than admit a simple truth that is hard to miss and hard to admit.

In reality, one key cause of our angst is this: we miss each other. The truth is we like being with each other. And, dare we admit it, we just might like each other. Yes, and deeper still, we just might need each other. Being in a sea of strangers is strangely comforting, whether it be in a store, at a county fair or just about anyplace one may think of.

  Perhaps the coronavirus will help to guide us to a cure of the deeper plague of not appreciating each other. We make life interesting. We impact the human environment. We enrich each other. We get in each other’s way. Yes, even that is a good thing because it forces us to acknowledge and deal with each other.

Christ Himself knew this when he formed His church. Faith is best played out in the company of many. And now the many are sitting home along with those of other faiths, indeed, along with everyone else. Coronavirus will affect those who catch it and those who never will. In the end will we say that we have dodged another bullet or will we come away with something better?  

Soon we will come out of hiding and rejoin the same world we left. Or maybe not. Perhaps the sameness of the world we rejoin will be looked upon with a deeper appreciation, thereby not making it just a return to the same old place. Share your world with each other. You may not know when it will be denied to you again.   

William M. O’Dell
Bristol

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