We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves.
In the world of science, we have come to see the connections between things and the absence of complete isolation and autonomy. What occurs in one place triggers something somewhere else. Yet, this is no new phenomenon. Shakespeare spoke of it when he said, "No man is an island." George Burns portraying God in the classic movie Oh God pointed it out when he said, "that's why I gave you each other." And, the creation itself proclaims the principle of connectivity every second of every day.
Intellectually, we grasp the notion of networks and the illusion of isolation, yet we still live as though we are segregated, separated individuals. Advertising and the media support this faulty thinking. The result is that we try frantically to care for our own needs, stay out of difficulty, avoid unpleasantness, measure our time as our own, distribute our money for our satisfaction. But in the deep silence, our soul can feel shockingly lonely. We might not be able to recognize or name it as loneliness. We're much more likely to assume we're depressed and need a therapist, an anti-depressant, a new outfit, or a Starbuck's latte. Loneliness of the soul is hard to identify and even harder to sit with once it has been identified. It feels like a dull, prolonged ache, or a slow-moving clock, or a shadow that will not pass, or the endless wait for the first sign of dawn. We can't seem to shake it, so we resort to denial, avoidance, or escape.
The only way to move from that sheer, empty feeling of loneliness of the soul is to bravely step out into the tousled web of connections with others and with God. If we step out in the faith that we do not live to ourselves alone, or die to ourselves alone - if we step out believing that every movement of our soul in life and death is intimately connected with all of creation - we find our loneliness being burned away like coastal fog under the heat of warm sun. Let your soul step out from its lonely seclusion and join the cacophony of creation. You'll be surprised at how deeply your soul can breathe.
O God, help me see that hubs, webs, and networks define the creation and the offering of my soul. Plunge my soul into the relationships of creation until I am short of breath with their energy and possibility.
These meditations by Renee Miller first appeared at explorefaith.org
Please use the share button at the top to share with friends and loved ones. Thanks!