If we share nothing else, you and I, we undoubtedly share the experience of having felt lonely and apart. Some people are beset by that experience daily; others have to endure it only a few times in their lives. But if I understand anything about the human condition (and I suppose I should concede that maybe I don't), I'm fairly certain that the pangs of isolation are among the universal sensations common to all of us.
I believe it's one of the reasons we seek love -- one of the reasons our culture and literature is so rife with portrayals of love as completion, as the ultimate fulfillment.
We want not to be alone.
In one respect, all of our yearnings and strivings for connection are futile. (Don't worry, I'm not going on some kind of downer here -- stick with me.) Within our own heads, we will always have ourselves and only ourselves for company, and many of us will find that there are times -- even when throngs of people surround us, even when loved ones are at hand on any side -- in which we still feel lonely and uncared for. Because what is within our heads is too large to be gotten out, or too humiliating, or too perplexing, and so we despair of ever feeling that we are truly understood.
But to dig yourself out of those moments, when you have them, you might consider this: when you are in that place, feeling alone and unloved, you are in a place that unites you with all of humanity. So many of us are there, with you, at that same time -- feeling left out in the midst of a laughing crowd, alienated from the faces around a conference-room table, lying with a sense of unwantedness upon a bed in a small room while the sounds of a city alive at night murmur in from outside.
When you feel alone, uncountable millions of us are there with you. And so when you feel unwanted, stop and think of those millions, all wishing and missing and wanting, and understand that somewhere amongst them is someone who wants exactly you.
And probably not just a single someone.
Right now, in that place of loneliness, the odds say that the person who would "get" you, who would complete you, is mirrored over and over a thousand or ten thousand times. If six billion of us in this world feel lonely for just one day of the year, then twenty million of us feel it at any given time. Are you unusual enough that only one in a hundred people could understand you? If so, then you share your loneliness with two hundred thousand kindred souls. So strange that only one in a thousand has any hope of a clue about you? Then twenty thousand others feel just as you do right now. And if your woes and griefs are so beyond the realm of normalcy that they make you literally one-in-a-million, that still leaves twenty bizarrely lonely spirits who are in your company.
We are here. We wish for you. Yearn for you. Would live and laugh and love with you in an instant, if chance presented us the opportunity.
Don't let the inconvenient fact that we haven't met -- yet -- prevent you from knowing that you can never be alone, because we are always there with you.
Thank you, goddess of love, for the power of large numbers, and for the imagination to see beyond the room in which we sit.