May 19th – “Skipping Stones”
Took a little road trip today with the family to Thornbury. We walked along the beach, and I did something I haven’t done for years, skipped stones on the water. It took me back to when my dad taught me how to find a good skipping stone, and hold it in a certain way to ensure maximum distance on the water. I tried to teach my kids, forgetting that 18, 17, and 13 year olds don’t need to be taught, they know it all!! And to be fair, they actually did know what they were doing and were much better at it than me. We then stopped to get ice cream from a little ice cream stand, before heading home.
It was a simple way to spend the Sunday afternoon of a long weekend, but it was nice to connect for a couple of hours as a family again.
I’m always amazed at how you can share physical space with people, and yet everyone seems to occupy their own private reality. It’s possible to be in the same room as someone, and yet be as distant from them as if they were in another place altogether. The psychologist Erik Erickson years ago wrote this, “life doesn’t make sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we understand this, the better for us all.”
It’s true. We do need each other. And I think we need each other more than think we do. Doctors are telling us that loneliness is a bigger health risk than obesity. It impairs the immune system in the body which leads to higher risks of inflammation, heart disease and diabetes. And, I recently read that prisons are considering removing the option of solitary confinement as a means of punishment, recognizing that isolating people from each other can do more damage to the human psyche, than some overt forms of torture.
We need each other.
Today, more than at any time in history, we surely have to be proactive in building into our lives, our routines, our realities, times and experiences in which we can connect with each other. It no longer happens naturally (if it ever did), as we have a virtual world to keep us occupied and distracted.
As I learned today, it doesn’t take a lot of time and money to take a drive, skip a stone, or eat an ice cream cone, but it can, for a few moments rescue us from isolation and remind us that we are the most fully human, when we are enjoying the company of others.
“Two are better than one….for when one falls, they can help the other up” (Ecclesiastes 4)