I arrived at the library’s front desk because I had walked right past the slot where you are supposed to return your books and movies. The locking mechanism on the box of Season Two of Parks and Rec wouldn’t close so I needed to talk to the library lady behind the big desk. I would love to say that all people that work at libraries are wonderful, because I’m an idealist and think they should be. I mean all they do is sit and talk about books all day long and punctuate the silence with an occasional shhhh. Research interesting stuff. Excellent job, in my book, haha.
But our librarians at the new fancy library seem a little annoyed and kind of stressed out and not very helpful and the last thing they want to do is talk to you about a book. They are not the imaginary ladies in the fictitious book club that I don’t belong to. I’ve always glamourized the ideal of librarian. I also have dreamed of being a monk, or a nun if girls can’t be monks. I mistakenly have believed that isolation would somehow protect me from being hurt when people disappoint you, or worry you, or worse of all, die. My super obvious introvert thinks I could somehow exist all alone, but in reality my people loving self would be achingly lonely. And I would still be sad when my monk friends, or my nun friends, or even by goodness, my librarian friends, disappoint me or inevitably die.
There is really no escape from our inherent need for community. And those who do seem to escape appear sort of lonely and jaded and a little pathetic. I do imagine I would hermit out with style, not looking all John the Baptisty, more like the fabulous Greta Garbo, but that’s probably also a lie. I wouldn’t shower and would drink too much coffee or too much wine; and some people would call me crazy or bipolar or agoraphobic, and they would most likely be right.
Actually, for an extreme introvert on the take a quiz on facebook (and maybe at my shrink but don’t tell anyone) scale, I love people. I have a rather large community of real life friends and even some I don’t know except for social media. I belong to a small church of wonderful misfits that do life together in a real and honest and sometimes muddled way. We get in each other’s face in a loving way when we start messing up, and we are there to honestly and sincerely celebrate each other’s victories. There is very little anonymity and that is good. Pew sitters get called on to plug in somewhere, anywhere, so they feel needed, a part of a living organism.
I spent some time this fall and early winter in a dark place. It scared me. I was struggling with some bondage of anxiety fueled mostly by my desire to isolate and therefore feed the beast. My loves, my community, my tribe wouldn’t let me stay there. But I had to cooperate to receive help. I think I see that as something our changing world fails to offer. True community. We all have “stuff” but we all need one another. No one can slip through the cracks of love.
So my exhortation today for you, is to love you another. Look after the elderly, the sickly, the lonely, and the ones who have fallen away. They need you. I need you.
And I am forever thankful for my people. My tribe.