We miss seeing a neighbor’s smile up close, or greeting an old friend with a hug. We read with sorrow the growing number of sick and dying. We fear for those we love who live in the most hard hit states, and we wonder if they and we will make it through this. We are profoundly lonely, and yet, we are connected in a new way with people everywhere, through our distancing and our isolation. We are lonely. Writer Olivia Lang offers us these sage and consoling thoughts:
“Love is not just conveyed by touch. It moves between strangers; it travels through objects and words in books. There are so many things available to sustain us now, and though it sounds counterintuitive to say it, loneliness is one of them. The weird gift of loneliness is that it grounds us in our common humanity. Other people have been afraid, waited, listened for news. Other people have survived. The whole world is in the same boat. However frightened we may feel, we have never been less alone.”
As we search for ways to cope and ways to help, I’d like to offer this: leave the light on. On my dark and silent morning walk, my heart is warmed by three houses, all in a row: one with white candles in the window. The next with a trio of bushes strung in Christmas lights, and the third with pillars proudly bedecked in red, white, and blue. I cannot help but smile. They are leaving their lights on and spreading it to me in doing so.
Now, more than ever, don’t let your light go out, the inner one. Leave it on and tend to it as if your life depended on it. Maybe that means more text and phone conversations with friends, more prayer, more meditation, more humor, more laughter, more volunteering, more giving, more compassion, more of every good thing that sustains the human spirit.
Don’t let your light go out. Turn it on and leave it there. On those still morning walks, I’ve taken to humming…the whole way, to keep my light on. This little light of mine…You’ve got a friend…Yesterday…You are my sunshine…Be not afraid…Let it be.
Do what you need to do, but whatever you do, leave the light on.