“You’re an interesting species, an interesting mix. You’re capable of such beautiful dreams and such horrible nightmares. You feel so lost, so cut off, so alone, only you’re not. See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other.” This is a line from one of my favorite movies – Contact. I always come back to this line from the movie when I try to wrap my brain around the vastness of the universe. It’s just something I have a hard time comprehending mostly because all signs show that the universe is expanding which means everything else is now even further away from our little blue planet than it used to be. In my last blog I quoted Galileo. I liked the quote so much, and since it goes along with the topic at hand, I thought I’d use it again. He said, “The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.” How is it that we don’t usually think this way? We don’t see the big picture that of all the unfathomably large things in the universe that somehow little ol’ me was created too. Most of the time when something happens to us, we feel like no one else could possibly understand. We feel like this sort of thing could not possibly happen to someone else. We feel alone. What happens next, is we either retreat inside ourselves or we look outside for someone who might identify with what we’ve been going through. Sure, most people deal with some sort of loneliness at one point or another, but knowing that we are not alone is always comforting. A way of coping with these experiences is finding others who have something in common with you. This could range anywhere from having similar hobbies, liking the same kinds of foods, or even battling a disease. The possibilities, like our ever-expanding universe, are endless. What I have found, is that joining one of these “clubs” is what helps me lessen my isolation.
Throughout my life, I’ve been a member of several clubs. I am proud to say I was a Girl Scout for 11 years and have so many wonderful memories of my time bonding with the other girls and, in most cases, their moms as well. Additionally, I am also fortunate to have been in the band and colorguard while in grade school and college and met many fun and talented people in those organizations. It fascinates me to this day just how much of a bond you can have with someone who was in one of these two clubs growing up. You could have just met them and because you already have this in common, it serves as an ice breaker. Furthermore, like many other kids, I was a member of several soccer, t-ball, and softball teams growing up and am still in touch with many of the people I played with way back when. The connections I have made with these people are harder to break, but as we all know, people, just like the universe, can always grow apart.
Some of my deeper associations with people come from having gone through profound, more emotional experiences. The very first blog I wrote talked about my struggle with infertility. I always have mixed feelings when I meet someone dealing with the same issues I have. While it isn’t something you ever want to have in common with another person, it is definitely comforting knowing there is someone else who can relate to and empathize with your experiences. This “club” of sorts reaches me on more of an emotional level than the traditional kind does. Members can read my first blog on “Surviving Those Questions and Comments” and understand exactly what I mean because they’ve experienced it first-hand. They know what I’m feeling and why I’m feeling it without me having to explain anything. Being a member of the same religion or race falls under this category as well. For example, I am a Jewish woman living in the Bible Belt. Unless you are a fellow Jew and lived and grew up where I did, you wouldn’t even begin to understand the feelings of segregation that go along with being in the religious minority. You wouldn’t understand what it’s like to have to sing songs about Jesus because your school is putting on a Christmas play and you don’t have a choice but to participate…unless you want to feel even more isolated than you already do. How many of those of you who are married can say that you were the first person of your religion that your spouse met? I can! I guess he likes Jewish people. 😉 Thinking about these “clubs,” I realize that they are the kind that you hope has very few members.
We all want to feel like we belong…somewhere. We spend most of our lives trying to find our place in this universe. Where do we fit in? What is our purpose? Why are we here? I have discovered that many times the answers to these questions come from fitting into one of our “clubs.” Maybe I was meant to go through my difficult experiences so I could help someone else work through the same issues. Maybe my struggles were meant to teach someone else just how blessed they really are when their life seems overwhelming. Perhaps my place in the cosmos is to help someone understand that differences in people are a good thing. Remember, you’re a unique person…just like everyone else. After reading all of this, if you feel more confused about your life than when you started…well…join the club!