When the sparrow sings its final refrain, the hush is felt nowhere more deeply than in the heart of man.
– Don Williams Jr.
I’ve been thinking lately about the difficult times we find ourselves in. Not just financially and economically but perhaps more importantly the spiritual difficulties that we struggle with. It seems that there is a great loneliness out there and folks are feeling this loneliness.
Now being alone and being lonely are quite different. If you have a rich and gentle inner world going on then you’ll find that even when alone, your time is full of richness and wonder and relationships. I touched on this just briefly when I wrote about the 5 life lessons learned from Harry Potter when I spoke about the value of friendship and how all you need is one good friend, even if that good friend is you for yourself.
But today I want to spread that concept out a bit into the wider circle of relationships. So many people are both alone and lonely. And if you’ve ever felt loneliness like I have then you know how big that space can be. You can be in a room full of people and feel as small and insignificant as if you were lost alone at the North Pole.
And if you’re feeling that large vacuous empty space of loneliness I want to assure you that you aren’t as lonely as you may think. There is always someone thinking about you.
How do I know? Because my dear reader, I am thinking of you now. But it goes beyond that. Even as I write this, I pause to look out of the window across to my neighbour. A neighbour I have yet to meet in person and my heart goes out to them and I think of them and wonder what they are doing. And from here my mind travels across to Africa where my thoughts reach out to the small children playing with few toys on the dusty streets of Ghana.
And there are billions of us out here in this wondrous world, full of potential and awe inspiring possibilities. These fellow travellers that join us for your yearly trip around the sun are thinking, feeling beings. And they’re thinking of others. Just as you and I are thinking of each other in this binary dialogue.
Friedrich Nietzsche wrote “… and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” I’d like to turn that around and suggest that you go outside and gaze into the butterfly or the bird and you will find that they gaze back into you. Is this not someone else thinking of you as you look and think of them?
Part of the sadness I feel with the current setup with our society is the way it has severed us from each other. And like severed limbs, the wound is raw and uncomfortable and sore. And those of us who feel, feel this gaping void more intimately than others. And yet we can still surely feel the invisible connection between us can we not my brothers and sisters?
There is a thirst for community and camaraderie and fellowship. But do not think that you have to look far afield for the intimacy and warmth of your fellow human. This fellowship and interconnectedness is all around us if you will just take a moment to look. To breathe. To follow your breath as it becomes part of another. To inhale and to become part of that which is around you. And what of the invisible parts, the electrons and gluons of our thoughts that pour from our minds like magnificent fireworks reaching perhaps to the ends of the universe on their long journeys. Pausing ever so briefly as they dance and touch other’s thoughts before travelling on.
No my friends, we are not as lonely as we may believe. In fact the world is rich in the apparent emptiness that is filled with the connections for which we hunger. Take just a moment to think of this fabric of space and time that shrouds you and connects you to everything and everyone everywhere.
We are never so lonely as when we think we are, and yet that thinking is a mirage that is quickly burned up if you can take just a moment to think about those who are thinking about you. I am thinking of you know as you read this and we are connected in thought and time. We are brothers and sisters you and I. Hang on to me if you feel yourself slipping and I’ll prop you up, for others have done the same for me.