Loneliness. It seems that the year 2020 (and very probably 2021 from all present indications) was the year of loneliness for so many people all over the world. For some, it was a time when families gathered closer together, but even in that we were all forced to be mostly insular. I think the majority of humankind is not designed to be isolated. Sure, there are the extreme introverts who "thrive" in such a scenario, but do they really?
It is alarmingly simple for each of us to become narrow, even in our personal ideals. I see, in my children, this incredible breadth to their ideas, hopes, dreams and even to the energy to pursue those. When it comes to ideals, there is no end to the possibilities on that one. And they encourage each other every day; the person that they wake up to be each morning is a vastly changed (and usually deeply grown) person by the end of that same day. And all because they have been in relationship with/to their brothers, parents, grandparents, extended family, friends who are like family, and even people who are not like family (but whom we love) like the baristas at our favorite coffee shop.
Being around other people can help to foster ideas, broaden perspectives, give us encouragement when we are down, and help us to (re)focus on what is good/positive. It can also help to give us strength when we fail, challenge us when we are weak, and even admonish us when we need it. Sometimes, it will give us joy, but even in the times when relating to another person breaks our heart or exasperates us beyond all account, we can grow and learn and ultimately be a better version of ourselves because of those provocations.
Watching humanity (as a whole) suffer (some to an incomprehensible extreme) this past year has been akin to watching winter unfold outside my windows; the trees stripped bare of their leaves, the wind blowing some of them down (and even away), and all of the elements pushing against them, with each valiantly attempting to stand alone. I have wrestled guilt for my own solace which I have so readily found in the mountains, trails, forests around me, free from so many of the fears that threaten to crush. Rest assured, my own demons have kept me well endowed with my own dose of dread and trepidation, but I have been given respite in (oddly enough) some of the loneliest places I find. And I know it is blessing, indeed.
I hope that, with time, our fear can be replaced with courage because we see life prospering and that in spite of all that works against us, we are stronger, wiser and kinder. I hope that we can see each other and not be afraid of what is raw and real. I hope that the very real suffering that belongs to (all of) humanity will help us better comprehend how to help each other as we each face our own future agonies and hardships. I hope we SEE; because we have lived.