"It is the most basic human loneliness that threatens us and is so hard to face. Too often, we will do everything possible to avoid the confrontation with the experience of being alone, and sometimes we are able to create the most ingenious devices to prevent ourselves from being reminded of this condition. Our culture has become most sophisticated in the avoidance of pain, not only our physical pain but our emotional and mental pain as well….we have become so use to this state of anesthesia, that we panic when there is nothing or nobody left to distract us. When we have no project to finish, no friend to visit, no book to read, no television to watch or no record to play, and when we are left all alone by ourselves we are brought so close to the revelation of our basic human aloneness and are so afraid of experiencing an all pervasive sense of loneliness that we will do anything to get busy again and continue the game which makes us believe that everything is fine after all.
When our loneliness drives us away from ourselves into the arms of companions in life, we are, in fact, driving ourselves into excruciating relationships, tiring friendships and suffocating embraces. To wait for moments or places where no pain exists, no separation is felt and where all human restlessness has turned into inner peace is waiting for a dream world. No friend, no lover, no husband, no wife, no community or commune, will be able to put to rest our deepest cravings for unity and wholeness."
Henri Nouwen, Reaching Out