In order to combat loneliness one can spend time moving in crowds, walking with others. Moving in a sea of people is strangely comforting as there is an almost intimate act that goes along with rubbing elbows with your neighbor this human walking right beside you, waiting at the stop light with you, riding the elevator with you. This human is in your private space (if there is such a thing on a sidewalk or in an elevator) and it is hard to ignore someone you can hear breathing right next to you even as they completely ignore you. But ignore, we do…they do… most do….
Hey guess what? Those of us who might be lonely are looking around at you who are walking around engaged in your life. You walk with such purpose and often like you are the only one walking. There you are with your head down focused on your smart phone, or earphones in walking at a do not disturb pace, rarely do you see the ones walking head up checking out the surroundings we are actually watching the world go by. We are the ones who side step to get out of your way. You never see us…
Because you would never recognize us even if you were looking. That’s us the one’s ready with a smile while holding the door for you, that’s you blasting through it. That’s us waiting for the green light rather than flying through traffic to get to the other side 10 seconds earlier, that’s you 10 seconds earlier, to the next light, Hehe. We are the ones content to wait our turn even as you cut us off at the “express”check out line, with your 12 items no less, or we are the ones you nearly run over as you come around the corner driving your car talking on the phone never once looking up. It’s ok, I see you! Thank God, I do not look good squashed!
By the time I return to my apartment I feel as though I have put in a full day at the office. How many times on my walk do I send light to that person as they cut me off never once seeing me? How many time do I bless a person when they ask me for money every single day? It is as though they have never once looked at me but I see them. How many times do I stop myself from speaking to the young man cutting off an older woman at the door? Yet one time I watched her do it herself? Way to go granny! I saw you!
I can walk in a crowd and never once say as word to anyone I see, yet I may have talked to every one of them. Sometimes I can walk in a crowd feeling completely alone and soon see those around me that are surrounded by people yanking on their arm wishing they were all alone. There is no answer to what brings peace or defeats loneliness and what may work today might change tomorrow. But what we are assured is the rising sun bringing a brand new day.
Tomorrow I will again walk through the crowds of people never once looking up at me and I will send them light. Tomorrow I will again combat loneliness walking the streets, walking with others, reciting the mantra I am not alone.