Our Greatest Test: Can We Accept Our Human Connection?


    No one is alone. Absolutely no one. Even in the most desperate of times, when nothing seems to be going right, when bad news rocks us to the core, when no one seems to care and when we give up on ourselves, we are not alone.

    In the darkest of hours, we sometimes feel like there is no where to turn. A loss leaves in its place a void that is utterly painful and sad, a place that makes the light and love of our past experience seem light years away. Fear of loss swallows us up from the inside. And feeling that relationships are no longer worth the pain builds walls around us so we can no longer move freely through life-or touch someone else along the way.

    In this space, we sometimes choose to disappear from sight…to vanish from everyone else’s lives and from the world at large. We just walk away. In our mind, we believe that our absence does not make a bit of difference. We convince ourselves that we are alone.

    In some way, at some time, we’ve all been there.

    For some, the feeling of abject aloneness is temporary. It passes quickly in the night and is not heard from in the light of day. For others, its pain is accepted and becomes as comfortable as an old pair of shoes with holes that let the water in when it rains. It accompanies some of us to the barstool every afternoon. It is slipped on like a jacket by those of us who walk the streets at night, keenly aware of noises that people make when they are together. The laughter, mixed by silent pauses, seems a world away from the emptiness we feel inside.

    I am reminded of a gathering in the upstairs apartment of a friend, not long after graduating from college. My fellow poets chatted about this and that, and they laughed and ribbed each other, reminding each other of stories I never knew. I sat there in the company of others, yet felt like I was there alone. I felt like I had nothing worthy to contribute and that I didn’t belong. I mentioned this to Roger, wise beyond his years, and he reminded me that it was my choice to be invisible.

    It always is our choice. It is too easy to under-estimate the power of our thoughts. What we believe is made real-in our own minds.

    But remember this: We also can choose not to believe all of the random thoughts that flood our minds, feelings that we are separate from others, that we are different, that we are unworthy and that we are looked down upon by others. Going down that road leads to solitude, despair, sadness and pain. Remember poor ol’ George Bailey, in the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life? George, climbing over the railing as he prepared to jump off a bridge, believed that the world would have been better off if he had never been born. Clarence, his guardian angel, arrives in the nick of time to give George a glimpse into a reality where he never existed, showing him how much he is loved by others.

    Perhaps our greatest test as human beings is being able to ignore feelings of separation and stay focused on that which connects each and every one of us on the planet. Some of us fail miserably at that. And there are others who come along every so often to remind us of how valuable each of us truly is, and how we all have unique gifts that add incredible beauty to the tapestry of life.

    We share a common heart. We instinctively feel the same, regardless of nationality or language, when confronted with the emotions of the human condition. Expressed on canvas, or on film, or in a score of music, we feel what it means to be alive. And when connected to that feeling, from the depths of the soul, we experience the unity of the human race.

    It is when we lose sight of this, when we forget our heart connection, that we begin the tightrope walk toward isolation.

    There is a reason the Dalai Lama preaches compassion. It dispels fear, hatred and isolation. He encourages us to reach out to others, regardless of our differences, and remember that we all want the same thing in life-to be happy.

    I encourage you, in times when you feel so utterly alone, to reach out to others. Look them in the eyes and marvel at your own reflection in their soul.

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