Unprovoked, a lot of my thought life as of late surrounds the question of human connectedness. Why do we all seem so different and like we live on our own personalized planets. Part of the answer is that we make our own comfortable, lavish planets that we can live on and escape to when we need to. And some of us have taken up full-time residence on these planets. Rarely, if ever, engaging with others. Because, well, no one else ever gets into the same shared space because you know, DIY planet and personal space. Give me Angry Birds every night for an hour, or give me death.
Why do I feel so disconnected in a world where people can say “I miss you” or “hi” or “wanna hang out” via Skype, text message, phone call, calendar invite, a personal drop-in at someone’s work, sending flowers, Tweets, and Snapchats.
Churches often combat this with small groups, prayer groups, bible studies, singles groups, etc. where you, you know, physically sit in the same room with other living, breathing humans. Places of employment will have unrelated outings where people who spend 40 hours a week together can talk about something besides work. Side note: ironically enough, when my co-workers and I are NOT at work together, we still spend the majority of our time talking about work. It’s hard to make that transition, I guess.
But with all this wondering, I can get really lonely inside. I like the planet I maintain. It’s pretty, and functional, and it’s there whenever I need it. But it also never challenges me to do hard things. Never once has it said “no, you go out there and do that.” I often need a push away from what is cozy. But cozy places never turn you away. There’s always one more episode of The Office, Grey’s, or Scandal (all true/accurate for me). There’s always a mound of mail and “clean” laundry that needs TLC.
I wonder about what other do to ready themselves for sleep. There are stretches of time where I’m so exhausted that it wouldn’t matter what I did before I went to sleep because it won’t take much for me to drift into that sweet bliss. Other times, I find routines helpful because my mind races and I worry too much about things I can’t actually do anything about. Only rarely have I found showers to be a soothing and calming pre-bed activity. But lately these showers have given me a sense of sanity. Stripping of the daily build-up of words, thoughts, events, interactions, and LISTS. Goodness, the lists. Get me up and out of everything I’ve been immersed in.
In a sad way, all of the communication that surrounds me actually feels like torture, like total suppression. By the end of the day, I have been so communicated with that all I can really muster enough strength for is standing underneath a steaming shower head for eighteen minutes of glory. All by myself.