Some of my reading lately has been looking at the many perspectives people have on "homesteading", "simple living" and "self-sufficiency". There are many different ideas ranging from an off-grid cabin in the Alaskan bush to a home in the city with a tomato plant on the balcony, but almost always with the notion of being "away" from people.
I've thought that way for many years, being fairly content with my own company, and while I still cherish family and friends, I do prefer being home in my personal space with plenty of room to breathe and think. And even though some who know me personally may jokingly say I'm anti-social I know these connections with others are important, and as I get older I begin to see just how needful those connections are. And that even momentary connections can make a difference.
Earlier today a group of people from my church went Christmas caroling at a couple of local nursing homes. It's an annual event I hadn't joined before, but since I found a nice basket with handles for carrying a tune I tagged along this year. It felt a little awkward at first but as the age-old songs filled the halls I could see the people respond and saw cloudy eyes and palsied limbs forgotten as wrinkled faces beamed with joy. At one point I heard a beautiful clear voice join in, and turned to see a tiny woman in a wheelchair, her face alight as that wonderful voice poured out in songs of praise and joy for the birth of Christ. I never learned her name, but I definitely felt a connection with her. I so enjoyed singing with her I stopped worrying about how my voice sounded and simply had fun being a small part of bringing joy to shut-in folks. Some of them may not have friends or family close by or may have out-lived their loved ones but for this brief moment of song they were reconnected to other people.
Even for somewhat anti-social, self-sufficient characters like myself, it's important to remember and celebrate our connections and look beyond ourselves.