Us humans are social beings. We may not always recognize it, but we rely heavily on the people around us in ways that we may never fully understand. Our fellow humans allow us to experience genuine happiness and pure comfort, as well as painful heartbreak, frustration, and sorrow. It is in the company of others that we know the extent of these emotions, and it is through these emotions which we are all connected.
This past spring, quarantine secluded the human race. People flocked indoors, and the world seemed to stand still. For many of us, we transitioned ourselves online and learned how to operate from a distance. We watched as the pandemic continued to make its ugly mark across the globe, as pain and suffering were at the forefront of every news headline. But for many, perhaps the most difficult challenge was enduring this new “normal” on our own. We no longer had the comfort of being around the people we loved. It wasn’t until several weeks after the pandemic hit which I realized something that has remained with me ever since. We need human connection to survive. We need to interact and communicate with the people we love. We need to appreciate the time we have with the people around us, as we take it for granted far too often.
If there’s one silver lining to this incredible mess of a year that 2020 has been, it’s the realization that being around people (socially distanced & with a mask, of course!) is more important than ever. It has become strikingly clear that we have the potential to make an incredible impact on the people around us. Whether we are conscious of it or not, our actions and our words have lasting impacts on our fellow humans. In a way, it is saddening that it took a global public health crisis for many of us to realize the true importance of the human connection. But moving forward, may we recognize the value of our words, and the impact that it is having on those surrounding us. Spread kindness in ways big and small, the world certainly does need it.
As the world continues to adjust to this new reality, I often hear people wishing for things to go back to some sense of “normal”. In some ways, I do wish that some aspects of life would return to the way that they were pre-COVID. However, perhaps there is something we can learn from being distanced from the people we love. Perhaps the way in which we treated one another before the pandemic was not ideal at all. Perhaps we had lost our human connection far before the outbreak swept the globe. As we reflect on the lack of physical interaction that we’ve been able to show the people around us, we’re given the opportunity to deepen the emotional connection to our family and friends.
Being back on our lovely campus has filled my life with the beautiful people I so dearly missed! I’m certain I am not alone when I say that Saint Mike’s has a uniquely wonderful way of bringing people together. So when the state of our world allows us to do so, hug the people you love. Smile at a passing stranger. Go to dinner with friends, and laugh, talk, and cry because you can. Cherish the people around you, and never again take them for granted.