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Something I’ve talked about on this blog before, though not in a while, is that one thing I love about people is our desire to love others. We take these risks to connect, to open ourselves up, to launch headlong into our roles as friends, and lovers, and family.

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We take the chance to love deeply, even though in the end it may break our hearts. When it does, when someone leaves our life for one reason or another, when we’re rejected or bruised, we take time to tuck back into ourselves.

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But eventually, almost always, we emerge once more craving true connection with other people.

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I find myself thinking of that a lot in these days, which have unfolded in a series of regulations and cautions and fear. Though few people I know disagree with, say, the entire state of California going under a shelter-in-place order, I see how hard it is for us to leave one another alone in this time of social distancing. I am guilty of walking with a friend, though we did our best to stay apart; I am guilty of being around my colleagues, at work because we’re considered essential, even as we form a triangle of space between us. It is not everything, and yet it fills me up to be around them.

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Interestingly, I find myself missing people I didn’t expect – like the barista at the coffee shop where they know my voice and my order when I call it in – and being thrilled to see others, like the man who works at the little grocery store on my street. I only know these folks a little bit; I know their names and something about their families, but they aren’t people I know socially or well.

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And so then I think, we often pretend that we don’t matter to one another as much as we do. Perhaps a silver lining of a terrible moment in time is that, moving forward, we might remember that it’s all right to be honest about how we care for one another. We are meant to be involved with one another; we are meant to love, in all these degrees and levels, at so many different steps and in so many varied ways.

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Maybe, when all is said and done, we’ll remember that it’s ok to admit that we are connected. Maybe, just maybe, this absence from one another will help our hearts indeed grow fonder, and more vulnerable, and ultimately more whole, leading to more compassion, more kindness and more love, in the end.

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One can hope, right? I am. I have decided that for whatever we cannot do, I can certainly dream. And whoever you are, wherever you are, may you stay safe and well in these days; may you stay tied into your own heart and all who reside within it. Love to you, and to this world.

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