I hear the clock, it's 6 a.m.


I feel so far from where I've been


—Jewel


Science says man is a social animal. God says, and He said it first, It is not good for man to be alone.


The folks who are worried about the health of the nation say for us to isolate ourselves.


There is tension.


Even if it weren’t for the economy, if it weren’t for restaurants closing down, if it weren’t for stores closing, if it weren’t for the retirement account (OH NO, she’s gone, she’s gone), we would still be yearning to reopen the world because we--as humans--yearn to be around other humans.


We need the voices, we need the faces, we need to be able to touch, to smell (I’m thinking of you Joe Biden). We need to be physically present with people.


I’ve been in Microsoft Teams meetings on a more than weekly basis. If you have the software, you can schedule them on your Outlook Calendar. While they are set for a particular time, you can show up early and visit with people before the meeting, just like regular meetings. And we do show up early. We need to see faces; we need to hear voices; even of people who we “just work with.”


I’ve a couple of groups I meet with on a regular basis, one for Bible study and one to study secular books. We’ve set them up to meet over Zoom. These groups have continued in their particular ways. We’ve held the groups together, preserved their continuity, kept the fire alive, continued spinning the thread.


And we keep up with each other.


But it’s not the same as face to face.


I’ve noticed something about meeting online. We tend to stray from the topic less. There are fewer political digressions; there are fewer humorous asides. We tick our way down the agenda and get the work done. What used to take an hour and ten minutes can now be done in 30. Then we click off the screen and retreat back into the isolation of our own homes, our own offices, our own heads.


Fighting to get outside of ourselves is a battle we all fight. I am an introvert by nature, but I still recognize the need for other people. The mythological symbol for Man freeing himself from his Mother is a battle with a Dragon, but that battle is manifest in many ways. We are expulsed from the womb and we cry, missing that warm isolation. But those of us who go on to be healthy individuals continually fight to break barriers to go further in the world. While we will always want and need the warmth of a home, having tasted the wider world, having found Others in the world we’ve grown fond of, we miss our sojourns out of our homes.


My back is better. I’ve lost the weight that I aimed to lose, and I can walk without pain now. I can walk out into our beautiful--now empty--world. I do see people out. We keep our distance. I raise my hand in the Vulcan salute of “Live long and prosper” and those who get it, smile back at me...from a distance.


We are not meant to be alone. Like God said. Like Jewel said, “You were meant for me, and I was meant for you.”


— Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. He invites you to “like” the National Association of Lawn Mowers on Facebook.