Merrily marooned. Abandoned to isolation and yet glad. Is there any such person who would find joy in such desolation? Upon the cross, Jesus cried out that even God had forsaken him, yet he was hardly singing with glee. Human beings simply cannot enjoy complete isolation. Despite all the romance of the lone wolf, despite the needs of solitary respite from busy life, despite our individuality, we need the company of people. We need the dependence of the community. But more than that, we need to give and take within the community, we need to be a part of it. It is necessary for us to have relationships that touch our core.
Intimate relationships are objectively necessary to continue the species, but subjectively necessary to fulfill our being. Humans need art to be both intimate and grand. Humans need science to explain the wonders around us and to open the doors to even more wonders, to explore in concert with the past and the future. Humans need religion, truth, hope, justice, mercy, and love. We need to connect intimately, we need to connect to something beyond us. When we isolate ourselves, forbidding ourselves to bond with another, we not only damage ourselves, we damage our community, we damage humanity, we damage God.
Recognizing that we wish for intimacy we seek it out. Often if we have no map or blueprint (and even then) we seek it in the wrong way. If we use religion to connect via science, or law to connect via art, or many others what we end up doing is not connecting at all. Instead we promote misunderstanding and actively cause damage to the relationships we wish were intimate. Yet active damage is more easily healed, and as long as we pay attention we can notice by the fruits of our actions that something is wrong. If we put God and our relationships with Him first, and especially if we use the roadmap He promoted while on earth, then we can even more quickly find that intimacy that we need.
It is the adventure of seeking that is life. And even in the most careful or most enthusiastic searching we may find ourselves marooned on an island. Even, like Jesus, feeling that God Himself has abandoned us. But through faith, through hope, and through love of God, we may push through. Perhaps not merrily, but without despair.
Joshua Fahey is a Chestertonian who sees magic in many everyday things.