So it’s Saturday. WHO KNEW?! And Toban is using the power washer (classic mennonite stress-cleaning) and Zach is in a tree holding a bucket that, when last I checked, had a snake and a skink in it. Who he claims “are friends and knew each other already.” Great, great. Not entirely clear what garden snakes eat but I’ll google it when we’re done talking.
I know that in this awful time that it’s hard to KEEP TIME. So maybe we could do that together?
It’s no secret that this is a time of so much suffering. THAT IS A GIVEN. So I thought it might be a good time to talk to people who help give us all better language for what we are experiencing and some hope around how to manage it.
So today, can we talk about loneliness?
This is a wonderful time to stop feeling weird about saying: hey, I’m lonely.
Loneliness is one of those realities that carry a lot of shame. If I say I’m lonely, am I admitting that I’m unpopular? Or unlikeable? Or that I don’t have it together?
I got the chance to chat this week on Instagram LIVE with the 19th US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy who specializes in how this feels.
He traveled the country during his time as “America’s Doctor” and found that one of the biggest compounders of any problem was the lack of meaningful connection.
So this week I thought we could focus on some of the lessons from Dr. Murthy about finding MEANINGFUL connections to cut through some of the distance. Dr. Murthy joins me at minute 11:45. Please forgive my technical jumbles before then; technology is hard for professors, alright everybody!
Here are my favorite takeaways from this conversation:
1. Find your three. Quality matters over quantity. (minutes 14:36-15:51)
2. It doesn’t have to take long to make a meaningful connection. (minutes 16:01-18:02)
3. There is no shame in this. We are meant for each other. (minutes 13:20-14:35)
(We made that lovely Instagram Story template for you to use on social media to shout out to the three people you turn to when things feel hard. Save to your phone, post, and tag your friends.)
Since time is feeling extremely blurry lately, I thought maybe you’d want to join me in giving some shape to the week as we focus on connection. We can share an image or video online and do this together.
Sunday: Church was never just a building. Where are you finding sustaining spiritual community? Can you find them online?
Monday: Be a good neighbor… to your literal neighbors. I loved this idea from Cup of Jo that encourages people to put up rainbows in their windows to encourage neighbors.
Tuesday: As Mister Rogers always said, “Find the Helpers.” Who can you shelter today? Together Rising is raising money to send personal protective equipment to those on the frontlines in healthcare. If you have a little extra and want to give to a worthy cause, click here.
Wednesday: I am deeming this Random Act of Absurdity Day. Here is my pitch for doing something for no reason whatsoever.
Thursday: Let’s recite a mini liturgy together. Here’s one when you can’t sleep. And one if you’re feeling afraid.
Friday: (Un) officially Casual Friday—it’s okay to give up. In fact, please do. I’ll be wearing my fanciest dress all day. Zach will probably be in his dinosaur costume. Show me what you got.
Saturday: Get outside. From balconies to forests, what does the fresh air feel like to you?
Will you join me? Post your photos or videos and use #lifetogetherapart, so we can see and celebrate what it means to make meaningful connections as we live life together… apart.
Onwards, together dear ones.
You had me at the sight of Zack in his Jurassic World t-shirt dangling from a tree!
Haha! It is a sweet sight indeed.
Thank you for these suggestions. Shared with my network here in Canada–and other places!
Oh, wonderful! Thank you for sharing Don. We hope this brings you and your community a sense of togetherness.
What a great post! So love the Random Act of Absurdity day!
Sherry, we can’t wait to hear what you come up with!
I love your post about loneliness. It is so true that is carries a good deal of shame but it does not have to!! And once acknowledged, it’s truly freeing because we are all alone with ourselves; it is to what degree does that fill us and when do we need more. And we don’t always get what we need all of the time and that is ok.
You’re totally right-we all might be fulfilled with different levels of alone-ness or together-ness, and this is a hard time for all of us to strike that balance. It is my sincere prayer that loneliness doesn’t overwhelm us in this time. I hope that this conversation and weekly plan can help us be intentional in that! Thanks for this reflection and kindness, Kim!
Shared your weekly plans. You have been part of my life for nearly two years Kate, I feel like I know you! My youngest asked me the other day, “Do you know Kate”, I actually said I did! Grateful for you sweet friend. x
Aw this is so sweet! We are so thankful for your steadfast presence in this space. Being connected with you through thick and thin is a gift.
Love this! Thanks for sharing! Hearing your wisdom in the midst of this uncertainty is a gift.
You are so welcome, Zach! We are so humbled that you’ve found wisdom in this space. We are in the uncertainty together.
Sounds like a plan. You totally rock! Thanks for unshaming loneliness and need for connection!
We look forward to hearing how this goes! May it bring your week intentionality and meaningful connection.
Connection – My monthly book group has been texting each other several times a day for over a week after we decided to postpone our gathering to on-line for this coming Monday. We rarely ever contacted each other between meetings before. It’s be.en wonderful
Wow, this is so lovely. What a joy that you all have been able to connect more in the days in-between! That kind of connection is key in this time.
It’s Saturday evening. I just listened to the dialogue between you and Dr. Murthy. I was deeply moved by the ways in which you engaged each other and tapped into what so many of us are feeling and wondering these days. May you be blessed for all that you are and all that you share with others.
What a nice note! We are so glad you tuned in and found that it resonated with your experience right now. Thank you for taking the time to listen and let us know what you thought. Sending our best!
Grateful for this read and interaction.
Thank you for taking the time to engage. It means so much!
Remember, in the Genesis creation story, loneliness was the first thing that God declared “not good.” Sending love to you Kate for the incredible outreach and love that you share.
Mmmm, thanks for this. There is definitely something so pertinent there. Relationship and belonging to each other is a God-given gift of creation! Sending you love as well, Cheryl.
Wow. This was so helpful for me this week. I especially love the prompt to do things for no reason. That is gold.
Just finished your book EVERYTHING Happens for A Reason. Thank you for your words of wisdom.
So glad you enjoyed it!
I am a widow that lives in an agricultural area where we people are not close geographically. None of my family lives here and on top of Covid, am healing from surgery and chemo for stage 4 cancer. I have just ordered your book which I heard about through Andy Stanley Things Happen for a Reason and other Lies and looking forward to reading it. I know God works all things to good, but do not believe that all things happen for a reason. I truly enjoyed this video, because it was like a meaningful connection. Most of my family… Read more »
I am lonely. My husband died suddenly, and all my children live out of town. To me, loneliness is the ultimate poverty. When I think of spending all the days of my life in this way, I am overwhelmed and very sad. My life is over. When my husband died, he took me too…and when adult children moved, it ended. I just finished your book Everything Happens. I will pray for you.
Hi Kate, I love your podcast, it is such an honest, open space free from labels, platitudes etc that plague us these days. I was raised in the decade that TV came into the home – quite a while ago, I’ve seen a lot if change and you are reminding us of what still matters in a world where it feels like that has been forgotten and our young are faced with so many challenges. Thank you, you are bringing hope and genuine caring into a very confused world. You’re a true star, not a fake celebrity – you shine… Read more »