Blog: Isolation vs. Community
A good friend of mine is high up in the Kosovar army. He recently was asked to go to the Pentagon. I proudly asked how his visit was assuming he’d be blown away by the contrast of this brand new nation in comparison to our established US army. I was so excited to hear about how amazing he thought America was in all of our glory. I love our nation & am so proud of it. His insights were shocking & telling.
He said, “well it was actually surprising.” “Go on.” I smiled & was expecting him to give a compliment to me as an American but was disillusioned by how he really felt. He said “Actually I found it to be sad & isolating.” Instantly my bubble of American pride burst. “What do you mean?!”
He said “When everybody was dismissed to free time they all went to their rooms. I was outside of the facility & looked up at what looked like a hotel & the lights were all on & everybody had a light glowing in their face. A laptop, a cell phone, a television, a tablet – it was total isolation.” You Americans are all so isolated. We all spend time together in Kosovo. At any point, there are always people together & everyone is included & welcome.”
It was convicting as I thought about how withdrawn we have all become. Independent in so many ways, but are we really? It seems like loneliness has crept into our marriages, even into parenting relationships. It seems like there is a town between a lot of connections & because of this there is not a lot of emotional accessibility. I’m inspired to be more available to the ones I’m supposed to be!
I went to a Starbucks in Nashville & there was a table full of men all laughing & being affectionate & carrying on & I instantly knew by their encounters with each other that they were from Kosovo! I approached the table & through my arms up & said, “Hi Kosovaars!” they all cheered! How did you know? I knew you guys were form Kosovo by your interactions with each other! It’s really inspiring!
OTHER OBSERVATIONS FROM KOSOVO
When I was in Kosovo, I went into their hospital & saw a very relaxed casual family environment. It was peaceful & breezy feeling. There was a man in scrubs who was walking a little girl in with such kindness. He had his hand on her face & she was leaning on him like a niece. I said oh that’s so sweet, what’s their relationship? Someone said what do you mean? I said well they must be related right? No. Here we believe the children are all of ours & we all take care of each other. It was so sweet & pure. It made me feel a little sad. In the states we’d get so freaked out if a man was touching a child with affection like that if they weren’t related. The value of family & togetherness in Kosovo is so deep & produces such comfort. They live together, eat together, play together… the goal isn’t to get away from each other to prove independence, the goal is to stay together & help improve each others lives, contributing to the family unit, not planting individual roots.