Richard K called out of the blue… and the goodness of his heart. I’m not alone
today at 8:00 am
Tamping down the risk of the virus by staying home for days on end can close you off to the world. Or open you up to what’s important in life (other than having enough toilet paper to wipe your butt).
I was half comatose in front of the smart TV, watching some Ambien-alternative telenovela, eyelids drooping like an iguana on a rock, when the phone rang. “Howard, it’s Richard.”
I’ve known Richard going back to sharing our daughters at the same middle school. Now the “kids” are in their forties and to my delight, he and I have become good friends. But in all that time, I never talked with him over the phone, from dial system to punch tone to cellular. It actually took me several confused seconds to recognize his voice.
Then, presto, “Richard! Hi, thanks for calling!” And I was animated, engaged in gossip and geopolitics and participating rather than slowly sinking into couch potato, binge mode. I was so grateful to Richard for reaching out to me… you doing all right, taking precautions, getting outside for some sun… connecting with me, sharing both apprehension and optimism, the message being, we’re in it together, you’re not alone.
How reassuring, how nurturing, how blessed to have friends! Our joy is enhanced when it is shared, and our sadness lessened.
I think isolation and loneliness will kill more people than the virus. It is a danger that lurks. I know that truism first-hand: my long time best pals from days of corduroy knickers, senior proms, ivy quadrangles, first jobs and second marriages, so many are gone, the “good old days” that connected us lost in poignant memory.
Be thankful for the Richard in your life! And Roger and John, who also called… and cared. Feel the warmth of their friendship and pass it on! Leaf through your neglected Address Book and re-engage. It’s what friendship is all about: being dependable when you are needed; knowing it’s okay to reach out for help when the shoe is on the other foot.
It takes effort, but if we stay too long in our comfortable bathrobes we risk the danger of debilitating confinement, not from a dreaded virus, but the closing walls of a shrinking world.