About a month ago, my neighbor of 2.5 years was taken to the hospital in the middle of the afternoon. He never returned… I since learned that he has terminal brain cancer and is living out his final days in a local hospital. I had passed him in the hallway many times, but had only uttered a quick “hello” to him before continuing on my way. I never took the time to get to know him, or vice versa.
I don’t really know any of my neighbors. We pass each other on occasion, sometimes smiling, sometimes nodding, but rarely interrupting our busy schedules to take the time to get to know each other. We all have more important things to do, it seems.
I have close to 200 Facebook friends, but very few people I can honestly call real friends, and even fewer with whom I connect on a deep level. We have more and more ways to connect with others through the advances in technology, but the level of connection that is happening is becoming increasingly superficial. All of the technology in the world can’t change the fact that we are growing more and more socially isolated in our society. Loneliness is becoming the biggest epidemic in our country, even bigger than cancer, AIDS, or heart disease.