The Problem Of Isolation

Isolation is an interesting word. To isolate someone or something is to set apart from others, or to place alone. It is akin to the word solitude, but it carries the idea of something that is done, not chosen.

I am sitting here tonight in my suburban home. It is a nice small ranch style house on a quiet street. I know my neighbors and speak to some of them regularly. But I am sitting here tonight isolated from my neighbors as they live their lives and I live mine. Tomorrow morning I will drive to work in my SUV all alone. The roads will be full of other vehicles, but most of them will be occupied by only one person. Isolation according to some studies is epidemic in America.  Loneliness that is not limited to isolation but not helped by it either is a huge problem in our communities.

Some of this is due to social engineering and fads of social scientists from years ago. So we cannot just blame people for living isolated lives, since this is the world that we were given. But it does not lessen the impact of isolated living on our psyches.

What is the answer? Marriage alone is not a cure-all. You can be isolated as a couple as easily as by yourself. Keeping your kids at home forever? That is wrong on so many levels. Church is fine until you see all the married couples and young people who are all around you and not interacting with you. I often leave church fed spiritually but drained emotionally.

I doubt there is a one size fits all solution to this problem. But community will be at the center of any legitimate solution. Not driverless cars or electric cars or urban sprawl, but communities where we interact with people from all backgrounds, even some we may butt heads with. There will be bumps and scrapes and bruises, but in the end it will be community.

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