‘No man is an island’, the saying goes. What if we’re more like ships passing each other in the night, though? Getting a glimpse of one another’s lights and glimmer from a distance; and at a certain point in time, when the air is sharp and crisp, seeing each other at HD level of detail.
But then it’s gone. Because as crisp as the night air was, the moment was hot with anticipation and the usual fear of making a fool of oneself. The potential ‘what if?’ meant inaction was the safest bet for self-preservation. Whatever that may mean. So the chance to ask for help has passed, the shoulder to cry on no longer available, the potential once in a lifetime kind of connection is lost.
If you still can’t grasp this sort of moment, picture this: it’s early morning and you are in a rush to get ready for work. But that first cup of coffee is essential, you know you can’t function properly if you haven’t had it before you leave the house. So you boil the water, you add the ground coffee. The smell of the freshly brewed miracle potion envelops you. You add a bit of warm milk because that’s how you take it. No sugar, though. Can’t wait for that first sip. But this impatience won’t do – it’s too hot, so you have to leave the cup on the kitchen table for a while to cool off. ‘That’s alright,’ you think, ‘I can just finish reading this article in the meantime.’ You’re so deeply immersed in the article that before you know it you’re running late. Oh, and the coffee? That coffee you were about to thoroughly enjoy? It’s cold now; and even if you try to re-heat it, that miraculous, deliciously unique taste can’t be brought back.
It sometimes takes really horrific events to make us stop fretting needlessly about ‘what ifs’ and realise just how many of these human connections we’re missing day by day, even minute by minute.
I can’t help but ask myself how we can make the effect last longer, so that these dark and painful events are farther and fewer apart. The only answer I was able to dig up so far is that we need to make the present moment something we’re actually present in. Then we can silence and eventually tame our monkey mind, allowing us to see the one in front of us and reach our hands out to them.