We really do need each other. God made us that way. Genesis records that when he created the world and nature, he called it good. Yet, after creating Adam, he said, “It is not good for man to be alone,” and immediately created Eve.
Because of COVID, most of us have new understanding of how devastating “alone” can be. Decades before that, though, Professor Philip Zimbardo, a respected authority on psychology, gave this chilling statement:
“I know of no more potent killer than isolation. There is no more destructive influence on physical and mental health than the isolation of you from me and us from them. It has been shown to be a central agent in the etiology of depression, paranoia, schizophrenia, rape, suicide, mass murder, and a wide variety of disease states.”
Thank God, the pandemic seems to be lessening its grip on the world. After fifteen months of sticking close to home and separating ourselves from others, most of us are hungry for reunion. Starved for company in our homes, around our tables. For family and friends hovering over a campfire or barbecue. For hugs and toothy grins and unmuffled words. For more than four at a restaurant table, for more visitors at our businesses and medical facilities, and for conversation about something other COVID. We “miss our peeps,” as some of my older grandchildren tell me.
I hadn’t seen one of my friends for what seemed like forever. Both our jobs are often stressful but walking over the noon hour helps. It had been months since our last walk. Winter.
“Want to walk at noon?” she texted earlier this week. My soul felt plump with the pleasure.
As the brisk, heated wind pushed us down the trail, we noticed wild roses blooming and some yellow flowers we couldn’t name. When we came to a wide pond, we wandered over to the water’s edge, sat on two large rocks, took off our shoes and traced our toes through the pebbled pond bottom. We even took foot selfies. Mostly we talked.
I left my workplace at noon again today; this time to share lunch with a friend who lives alone. We sat at opposite ends of her long dining table. She apologized for not looking her best. “I’m having a weepy day,” she said, explaining how memories of a dear friend in Heaven kept returning. Like warm honey, she poured some of those memories on me, and like her, I found them sweet.
A third friend visited me at the office. When she left, I felt richer by far.
And so, almost like rebirth, we slowly emerge from the dark cocoon of isolation. I believe God had a reason for allowing the pandemic; that there are things we still must learn. Perhaps the most obvious is an echo of God’s words after creating Adam. No, it isn’t good to be alone after all. I need you and you need me, and let’s never forget it again.