In modern society, we seem connected. I’ve long contended that as technology provides more ways for us to quickly communicate, we in fact tend to spend far less time exchanging truly meaningful information. In essence, these tools provide the “illusion” of communication as we “amble through” life rather than actually participate in it. The more we seem to communicate, the greater the potential for isolation becomes.
An example is public cell phone use. We bustle about conversing with others OUTSIDE our immediate situation and totally miss that which surrounds us…perhaps right next door, across the street or a floor above. Even as we have more ways to keep in touch, isolation grows. It can be tragic, manifest in many ways.
It could be the ticking “time-bomb,” of a distraught, tortured soul whose desperate cries for help go unnoticed until one day we see a familiar name in the news, connected with a heinous act of violence, murder or perversion. When interviewed, neighbors, family and even friends, frequently taken aback, remark, “He seemed like a regular guy”… “I never thought he’d do anything like this” and similar statements.
You come home one afternoon happening across police cars hastily parked–a door ajar…a crowd gathered in a friend’s yard. You’d shared a few beers with him several days before. He was found dead inside, on the floor, the victim of a stroke, several days prior.
A suicide occurs in your neighborhood. You recall the victim. She always waved, never displaying the slightest hint of a weight so devastating that it simply crusher her. Neighbors, at work didn’t hear the gunshot. No one knew, until her daughter came home from school to find her.
Steven Henry of the Daily Mail Co. UK reports a tale of the lonely passing of Isabella Purves, a seemingly sturdy senior aged 85 who quietly died in her top-floor flat two floors above a tidy Florist Shop in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her badly decomposed body escaped detection for 5 years.
Who was Isabella? What brought her joy in life? How can someone so quietly slip away in the midst of a thriving neighborhood in the middle of a city?
As connected as we are, a distance still pervades our communities, even our families. The lonely come and go, some with little or no fanfare. We pass on the street and often fail to make eye contact. Simple courtesies once extended by a more gracious society seem to be absent today.
I must admit, I know no Isabellas…or do I? Do you? Are you certain?
I can’t help but think we’d be better off if each of us make an effort to find an Isabella (or an Isaac) if only to check in on him other once in a while.