After leaving my congregation’s annual campout and writing all of the book reviews that needed to get done after my voluminous reading, I drove some distance to see my CASA kiddo for perhaps my last visit. For those who are not aware, for the last year or so I have been a Court-Appointed Special Advocate  for an adorable toddler and have gotten the chance to see her learn how to walk and talk, at least a little. Now that she has been reunited with her parents, who live a considerable distance away from where I live, it was necessary for me to do a fair amount of driving to and from in order to fulfill my duties and make one last visit, where I wished the adorable moppet and her family a nice life with the hope that it will go well even though I do not expect to long be a part of it.
In looking at the somewhat insecure attachment of my adorable CASA kiddo, who seemed to need frequent reassuring that the adults around her cared, I was reminded about the repercussions of early childhood, and made a silent prayer that her life would not be deeply and permanently blighted by the insecurities and fears induced by the drama of her early life. As someone whose horrific childhood continues to mark me as a person apart from the general populace, I feel a great deal of compassion for others who are at least in the same ballpark as I am when it comes to struggles with intimacy and trust and the pervasive nature of insecurities. To see an adorable small child face the struggles that I still face filled me with a great deal of compassion as we worked together on refilling a coin bank full of pennies, enjoying the satisfying sound of using it like a percussion instrument by shaking the coins inside.
For the past few months, a coworker of mine has been struggling with liver failure. From time to time I have caught up with his wife, who is another coworker of mine, about how things are going. This weekend, unfortunately, matters seem to have taken a turn for the worse, although I do not know the specific details or would wish to share them. Understandably, someone reflecting on the prospect of widowhood as an orphan without any children has some unpleasant matters to reflect upon. It is a terrible thing to feel alone, as if one has no one to live for, no one to care for, no one to make a life enjoyable. As human beings we are not created to be alone, but we were made to live in families and communities, and it can be a deeply dispiriting thing to live and feel isolated and cut off from the mass of people who are around. It is a terrible thing to be alone in the crowd, to be one cell in an endless sea.
It was well into my adulthood when I found out that there was an entire part of the field of psychology devoted to issues of attachment. As a person whose fear and longing for intimacy are both intense, I always figured I was an odd bird. One may know, for example, that an area of life is problematic but one may not be able to discuss such matters because one does not have a vocabulary. There is an implicit knowledge that we can from being and doing, but often our formal knowledge lags far behind this implicit knowledge because we are unaware of the words that describe our lives and our existence and our behavior. At times these words can be used as labels, as a substitute for personal knowledge. We may look at someone and, wishing to distance ourselves from them, call them a narcissist because they show a great deal of selfish focus on themselves and their own wants without showing a great deal of concern for others. We may say that someone has mental health issues as a way of delegitimizing their behavior, and this no doubt contributes to the sort of stigma that people have in identifying themselves, because that identity is a two-edged sword.
Many people take issues of attachment for granted. If someone is reasonably empathetic, we might understand that there are many people for whom attachment is a matter of considerable difficulty. A child that was removed from her parents while at a very young age may be expected to struggle to feel stable and secure in having been removed from one household and placed in another, seemingly without sense and reason. Lonely and isolated people lacking close family ties may feel a particular sense of distress at the thought of being cut off from loved ones who they depended on as offering a close connection that is sometimes feared to be impossible. Human beings are often deeply sensitive and vulnerable beings, and relationships with others or their absence can play havoc with the way that we feel about our lives and our existence as a whole. Perhaps people whose needs for love and acceptance have always been met simply do not want to think about what life is like when these important matters do not work out right. We live in a cruel world full of waste and loss, let us hope that a better world awaits and that we are not too damaged to appreciate and enjoy it.
 See, for example: