As many of you know, I am not a deeply social person. I have more than a touch of social anxiety, and find it a little difficult to hang out in groups. This is exacerbated by my characteristic that I call crankiness: I don't like a lot of noise, and I don't like being jostled, and I can unfortunately be quick to reach flash judgments about people over stupid, inconsequential issues.
That all being the case, you might wonder why I don't just found a monastic religion, become its sole member, and move into a cabin in the woods? (Bob, AKA "the Unablogger"!)
Well, I do value my friends, and I really do like being with people that I'm comfortable with. Even for me, there's a limit to the amount of time spent alone that's healthy. And there's something else as well.
As cranky as I am, even the most casual encounter with someone may produce what I call a 'moment of connection'. Maybe it's something they say, maybe it's a reaction to something I've said. Maybe it's just a facial expression or a gesture. It's rarely anything profound. But whatever it is, it establishes that person for me as an individual, a personality. And, in that moment, the crankiness and the stupid judgments disappear. This doesn't mean that I like the person I've encountered, or that I'd want to spend a lot of time with them. But it does mean that I've become aware of their essential humanity.
To me, that moment is sacred.