Molluscs live alone in their shells, not through shyness but these invertebrates need protection. Hermit crabs like their own company unless they come out to fight a competitor for a bigger shell! They are no more likely to share their new home than an introvert would choose to throw a party! Personality types come in all shapes and sizes but the message in this bottle is that no one type is right or wrong – even shell bound creatures need to live in community. For human beings, solitary confinement is a punishment – we too are made for community, thriving in relationships rather than being shut away in isolation.
- ‘Isolation is the sum total of wretchedness to a man’ – Thomas Carlyle
- ‘I remember reading the book in high school and always thinking of Gatsby as this strong, stoic, suave, mysterious man who had everything under control. But when I read it as an adult, I realised he is a hollow man, a shell of a person trying to find meaning, who is not completely in touch with reality’ – Leonardo DiCaprio
- ‘The guitar helped me come out of my shell and kind of gave me an identity at school’ – Dustin Lynch
- ‘Isolation is a dream killer’ – Barbara Sher
- ‘National isolation breeds national neurosis’ – Hubert H. Humphrey
The ‘walkie-talkie’ was first invented in 1937 by the Canadian Don Hings. Many similar devices were developed by other inventors around the same time but their design revealed their purpose – microphone, transmitter and speaker all being vital then for communication. Look then at the design of what the scientific community refers to as ‘Homo sapiens’ - two ears, a mouth, a brain, two eyes, two hands ... and a sense of humour! All are vital for communication and communication is vital for survival. The name is Latin for 'wise man' and was introduced in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus which you may think is surprisingly recent. God came up with a much shorter name!
‘And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them’ – Genesis 1:26-27
The Hebrew word for ‘man’ is ‘Adam’ – no surprise there! God’s plan was to give Eve to Adam as the prototype for human relationship and society for he said:
- “It is not good for the man to live alone. I will make a suitable companion to help him” – Genesis 2:18
Mankind’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs were fully satisfied in God and through each other. How sad that Adam and Eve chose the way of disobedience and isolation from God. That self-induced spiritual isolation has led to all manner of pain for mankind and it led to Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, bearing the shame and isolation of the cross to restore the spiritual connection with God.
- ‘Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee’– Augustine of Hippo
Time in continuous isolation will damage people and communities for it goes against our very design. The COVID 19 virus required ‘social distancing’ but the impact of that on mental health cannot be underestimated or calculated. Creative technologies provide other ways to communicate which is just as well. In the fullness of time, social and spiritual reconnection not only bring compensation but also highlight the value of friendship, family, community and interactions we need to be fully human.
The empty shells are best placed in a bottle for decoration only. It is in relationships that we will thrive; without them, some will not survive for humans are made for connection.
- ‘For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others’ – Romans 12:4-5
- ‘Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work’ – Ephesians 4:15-16
- ‘Remain in me and I will remain in you’ – John 15:4
- ‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching’ – Hebrews 10:24-25
- ‘Christ is before all things and in him all things hold together’ – Colossians 1:17
- ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ – Romans 8:38-39
When you feel isolated, look for the ways you can find connection for with it will come fulfilment – you were made for this.
TAGS – relationships, The Connected Life, The Reconnected Life, psychology, wellness, restoration