Friday, August 29, 2008


I think most of us would agree that we want love in our lives. If we feel unloved, or if we have no one to love, everything else in life kind of pales. I believe that in order to feel love or to be loved we need to feel a sense of connection with other people. There are many kinds of love. Many people think of romance when they think of love but that is only one kind of love. We may feel love or a sense of connection with many people. If we are lucky we might feel love and a sense of connection with a significant other. However, not everyone experiences this. We may love some people but not necessarily feel a deep connection. We may also feel connected to some people but never think in terms of loving them. Even if you take the idea of love out of the equation, I still believe we seek and need connectedness with others. Why do so many of us need to belong to groups outside of our families? In most cases it is because we need a sense of connection with others who may share an interest or hobby. Certainly I feel a sense of connectedness with my personal family as well as my extended family. They are my home base and provide stability in my life. I also feel a sense of connectedness with the many spiritual friends I know from my connection to the monastery. I feel a sense of connection with my small, but intimate, circle of friends who share my love of music and I feel a sense of connection with people with whom I regularly share a meal. I also feel a sense of connection with many co-workers and certainly all those who read my daily thoughts. I admit, however, that I am not the kind of person who runs around and tells everyone how much I love them and I do feel more affection for some people than I do for others. I think I qualify as a "hugger" but I don't want to be hugged or kissed by everyone. My personality and upbringing make some connections and emotional feelings easy for me while other connections and emotional feelings are more difficult to handle. I can express myself much better in the written word than with the spoken word and I hope my actions speak louder than all my words in the ways I connect with others. I am very grateful that I feel connected to other people and I hope they feel connected to me. When you do not feel connected to other people, then you are disconnected from life and from love. No one wants to be disconnected and out there all alone. It is one of our biggest fears.

Doesn't it feel great to cross the threshold of your home after a long day at work? My daily life at work is usually not too bad but even a good day can be exhausting. Each afternoon after my workday is over, I walk down eleven flights of stairs and through the park to the parking garage. When I settle into my car and turn the key I breathe a sigh of relief and say a prayer of gratitude that it's time to go home. I drive a few blocks to my wife's office and wait for her. Many days, when she gets into the car, she looks at me, sometimes laying her head on my shoulder, and says, "Mike, we've got to get out"! I know what she means and why she says it. As two people in their mid fifties, we've spent most of our adult lives working and making all the changes and adaptations that modern work requires. There is a point where the weariness sets in. It's a kind of battle fatigue. Returning home each day is like finding your base camp where there is relative safety, food, a warm fire, and a place to sleep. My home, in spite of all its imperfections, is my castle and refuge. When I was young, especially when I was still living with my parents, I couldn't get out of the house fast enough. I wanted my freedom. Now that I am older I can't get home fast enough. Some days I don't want to leave my home. Every night, after cleaning up and changing my clothes, I quickly find my way downstairs to my little hideaway where I sit in my chair, listen to music, and read the morning paper. More often than not, I fall asleep soon afterwards. I feel like Bilbo Baggins in his little Hobbit Hole. Dorothy was right when she told the Wizard of Oz, "There's no place like home"!

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