Social Isolation Symposium: Stories of hope and of heartbreak
The Summer 2018 issue focuses on a unique problem plaguing our society: social isolation. We asked you - our readers - to contribute short stories of heartbreak and hope to help illuminate social isolation in all corners of society. Here are your stories.
Alan Jacobs: Beyond Sex
"Quite regularly, people contact them who want scenes filmed, and want porn actors to perform in those scenes—but aren’t interested in sex."
Joseph Elliott Schlabs: The Gentlemen's Whiskey Club
"Eventually, the compounding isolation led to depression and burnout. I realized I needed to do something embodied and offline that helped me develop some consistency in forging friendships. I realized I needed to learn again not only to be around friends, but also to converse and share in meaningful ways."
Eric Richey: The Commuter Campus Island
"Whether walking around campus or sitting in the café, most students take simple precautions to insulate themselves from one another. Their earphones are in place and their eyes are usually fixed downward, to the ground or a screen."
David Salverda: Practicing Connection
"After four years of consistent visitation ministry, I came to realize that while people were growing in their connection to me, they weren’t growing in their connection to others."
Abigail Murrish: Porching in Indianapolis
"For Indianapolis residents, porches are becoming an icon of neighbourliness and hospitality."
David Greusel: Intentional Isolation in Suburbia
"In choosing to live in a suburb, I have maximized my personal privacy to such a degree that after twenty-one years in the same house, I barely know my neighbours."
Jeff Reimer: Cultivating Friendship
"We must tend to each other as friends. In no other way will the fractured bones of our society be set by the physician who has also called us friend."
Tim Selles: Single and Dying to Self
"Relationships are messy, but the messiness contains a sanctifying purpose."
Albert Cheng: Not Just Fun and Games
"You could call me an avid tabletop gamer: I regularly paint miniatures, build 3D terrain, and host gaming events. This hobby has also spawned friendships with folks who would otherwise be socially isolated."
Chris Nye: Alone on the Train
"No one spoke a word to each other—and that was a normal day. Everyone looked so bored and exhausted. It was just dressed up isolation."
Jamie A. Hughes: Little, Not Small
"People who adopt speak of their lives getting bigger, their hearts—like the Grinch’s—expanding threefold to make room for all the love that comes with children. However, an adoptive parent’s life actually gets smaller and far more insular when 'the littles' move in."
Ben Stafford: Getting Ahead
"Too many remain friendless; too many don’t have someone to call in a time of crisis. Too many are disconnected and we are lonely because we need each other. One doesn’t need a social service program as much as they need an ally, because every journey matters."
Ryan Bennett: Sans Amis en Paris
"Homelessness is an isolating condition. People ignore you or they are suspicious of you, so they keep their distance. But it is often poor social ties that leave people with nowhere else to go."