aloneb.jpgNo matter how we might fight it, English poet John Donne had it right when he wrote in his Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, “No man is an island entire of itself.”

Troubled times are probably the ones that prove this most. Because it’s clear to even fiercely independent people like me that trying to go it alone during tough times is just not smart. In fact, going it alone during good times is probably just as unhelpful.

And, maybe that’s our big wake-up call.

The truth is that the more enriched our society has become the more we’ve lived as if we don’t need one another.  And, the less – on real and human levels – we share, care and reach out for the community of family, friends, neighbors and colleagues.   In many cases, our money has protected us from the true intimacies of life.

One of  my real friends recently sent me a telling sketch of  ‘simple vs. real friends.’  Among others, I was struck by this passage: “A simple friend has never seen you cry.  A real friend’s shoulder is soggy from your tears.”

While I might cringe at the thought of breaking down in front of another with sadness, jitters, grief or confusion, I know that when I’ve let it happen I feel a sense of closeness and healing that is incomparable.

This is not about asking others to ‘fix’ your life.  Or listen endlessly to wallowing. Or leaning helplessly on someone.  It’s about connecting with the whole and real world of people who have natural, deep, sometimes -brave-sometimes-scared feelings.  It seems we are in a perfect time to reap the warm and loving rewards of NOT going it alone.

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