“No man is an island,” John Donne famously pronounced. Not so, Lindberg respectfully disagreed (perhaps less famously). Lindberg believed that each of our isolation, as is the case with an island, is real. She, however, tempered her view by acknowledging the common elements that connect us. After more than three years of exploring islands and seas, real and metaphorical, we humbly favor Lindberg’s appraisal.
At times our physical isolation and separation from friends, family, and home raise questions about our connections. What remains of friendships left behind? Where is our home? To whom and what are we connected and by what ties? In the end, are these connections even real?
At other times, however, our physical isolation concentrates our connectedness. Out of sight of land, under a full moon with dolphins riding our bow and coming astern to hear our voices, we feel magnificently connected, far beyond ourselves, hardly alone.
Three recent visits away from Elizabeth Jean remind us of the many things to which we are connected.
Over Thanksgiving weekend we joined Beth, Jean and Max (Jean’s fiance) at Max’s parents, Mary and Michael in Winston-Salem. There we stitched together the first pieces of our extended family’s memory quilt.
In early December, we returned to our Northwest home and time with old and dear friends. Within their embrace, we darned ourselves back into each other’s lives, leaving strong fabric where holes may have begun.
The window between Christmas and the New Year found us in Coronado (from where we departed the United States three years ago) celebrating the life of our good friends’ son tragically taken by the Oakland warehouse fire. Amidst the grief have been countless examples of community’s healing touches and Nick’s strong and continued presence. Most touching are his youthful friends’ commitments to bind Nick to their hearts, thoughts and deeds.
Perhaps our isolation is real; so too, most gratefully, are our connections.
The Bahamas: islands in their common sea.