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Eric’s Sunday Sermon; Social Interaction

Holding degrees in philosophy and Law. Formal studies or certificates or degrees in business, theology, insurance and security. Ex-preacher.

Just Hanging Out With Each Other

Interaction of the best kind.

Interaction of the best kind.


Can we live without social interaction? The simple answer would appear to be yes. But it would seem that that would depend on what you consider living. Looking at the isolationist we do not really see social interaction routinely but we see it. Fully depressed people who live alone isolate as part of the symptomology. But of course one of the cures for such “blues” is social interaction. In that suicide is frequent in such matters lack of social interaction could be a killer of life.

Jesus in John 11 is really cool on the subject. It is like if you die to the world, with faith in him you really live. Well of course if you define God as love like I do it makes perfect sense. If you die while in love you do not die at all for love is omnipresent in the spiritual but seemingly not in the body.

I spent time researching the usage and definition of live. Strange that. In my research the best definition was “to be alive”. Well by golly we use that term in such a way; “He is really alive”. So probably to live is more than just breathing and thinking and pumping. Brain dead and heart stoppage. We can keep a heart pumping artificially but as of yet we cannot artificially keep the brain working. There is some kind of analogy there but it escapes me at the moment. Maybe it would be more of a parable.

“What do you do as a living?” we ask. The response is almost always a job. Want some chuckles and respond that you are a philosopher and a writer. But wait, for me that is how I live not what I do for a living, although we do quite fine, thank you. What would happen if you answered, “I am a hermit so please leave me alone.”? Too late you already had a conversation that is social interaction. Well assume the hermit lives fully off the land in a remote place and really has no social interaction with man. I would bet that he has it with plants and animals and objects. Seemingly there may even be some interaction coming back if you are into that stuff. This writer/philosopher is.

I met a homeless man once who gave me a twenty to go into the store and buy him 10 dollar’s worth of booze. On return with the goods he said to keep the change he had plenty of money but refused to go indoors.

Sunday Morning Lonely

In The Desert Alone

The lonely no mans land somewhere near Mexico.

The lonely no mans land somewhere near Mexico.

A Simple Touch

Once upon a time there was a full on street residing man of many years. He was the foul type with crusted dirt on him and a ten foot away stink. It could not be determined what color his clothes were originally. Even his hair was so thick with grime you could not be sure of it’s color. Although it would appear that it was gray as he looked a good deal old. On an auspicious night the temperature dropped below zero which was quite rare in the area. The pain from the cold and frost bite approaching the man forced himself into a Catholic shelter. In the entrance area he was informed he would have to take a shower and change clothes which were provided for him by the sisters.

The man refused. Of course he was full on non-medicated or treated Bi-Polar with rapid cycling out of control. He yelled that he would not do what they insisted. He was told by a young nun that he would have to go back out if he would not take at least a try at hygiene. He was already looking claustrophobic and you could tell that he was contemplating leaving.

To the rescue came the Mother of the sisters. She shewed others away and sat down with the man on the pew turned admittance bench. She took her hand and placed it gently but firmly on the man’s hand and held it. Five minutes passed. Without a word spoken the old man picked up the clothes and followed the young nun to the shower room.

It was found out after a cleaning that the man was not old at all. Maybe forty at the tops. He kept quiet and finally accepted a cot, all the while appearing as though he thought the roof would fall down on him. But finally he drifted off to slumber. No, not a deep one but rather one like with one eye open as to him danger lurked everywhere.

As a matter of survival the man joined the food line for breakfast. Socially distancing for sure. In just a week’s time the man was back out on the street, but now he returned daily to help with chores and serve some of the food to others. To do so he had to be clean and calm. A new life had begun.

The young nun who was there for the intake finally asked the man what the change was. Now fairly clear minded the man simply thought about it for a moment. And soon replied that that touch from the old nun was the first he had felt in years.

Never Alone

Surrounded by love.

Surrounded by love.


What Conclusion?

Did you know that the professional street beggars are better off than the other homeless? Just in all facets of living. The conclusion of many professional healthcare types is that it is the social interaction with people.

I attended the beach yesterday. Yes I use the word attend as though I went to church, well nature is my church, is what explains that. The other attendees were my two sons. The elder is teaching the younger to surf. The three of us were very safe from anything to do with the virus. So we over did the hugging. Seems we were all hungry for that social interaction.

Here is a strange one. When I get a bit blue and try to isolate I pray. Meeting up with the Jesus of love is really a good way to socially interact for me. People just don’t have the zing. But of course I don’t get to really isolate. Our home requires much hugging and social interaction. Truth be told I like spending some days at a time only social interacting with them. I was in my element during the quarantine. For six days, as we were prepared no one left the home even for an isolated walk. Thanks – not for the extra weight.

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Sometime I would like to meet a person who does not talk to themselves.

I have these eye wrinkle lines from full face smiling. Kind of like old Saint Nick I reckon. His beard so full you cannot see his mouth but you can see and feel the smiling twinkle in his eyes. I smile at people with my mask on and they full on know it. My voice conveys when I am not happy. Hey try smiling at the mirror without an effect on your eyes. My wife tries because she does not want wrinkles. Oh the vanity of youth.

It would seem to me that we simply cannot live without social interaction. Even the hermit. Even the homeless man had to interact with me. Really depressed folk who do not interact have a very short life expectancy. For us Christians not interacting with God would be spiritually fatal.

Love is just so much better when shared. Love makes us alive. Perhaps without socially interacting in love we are not really being alive.


Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 25, 2020:

Thank you much KC that is a very nice comment. Perhaps just getting folks sitting down with it and putting the time aside to read is as valuable as content. But we only have about 100 parishioners, though they find something in it to pass along so that is a start.

KC McGee from Where I belong on September 25, 2020:


If the whole world would take a moment to stop and read this, it would be a lot better place.

God bless you Eric.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 25, 2020:

Thank you much Anupan. I love to write about my passions.

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on September 25, 2020:

Nicely woven Eric, both the story as well as your connection with nature. Worth reading.

Lots of love and blessings.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 24, 2020:

Denise I was sucking on some straw gazing at my dirt needing turning and thought ---- What if all this was to get us to appreciate and give more hugs. I figure I will never figure out.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on September 24, 2020:

So true. I think like you do, that we were made to be social creatures. I do miss hugs. When we finally get to visit my daughters and grandkids I will hug the stuffings out of them.



Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 23, 2020:

Devika I am truly blessed to be positive in outlook.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 23, 2020:

Thanx Dora. It is my pleasure to know and relate that story.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on September 23, 2020:

Eric you are full of ideas and know how to be positive.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on September 22, 2020:

Great story about the touch. Perfect illustration to a very relevant message. Thank you.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 22, 2020:

Isn't ijust grand how that works. One of the biggest problems in modern life is isolation for those who do not want it. And as you show in your love, it is so good for others. Thank you for sending that love out!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 22, 2020:

I realize how important it was when we invited over a lady who lives alone and for several days, she enjoyed the company and she felt much better. We all need it. I am now with my grandson and her girlfriend and their dog and it is always better than being on my own.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 21, 2020:

Thank you Helna, your words "touch" me.

Helna on September 21, 2020:

Very interesting story. Thanks for sharing the same. We all need a touch from someone who love us. Love is the essence of our life.

Thanks, Keep up the good work. Blessings

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 21, 2020:

Truth here Mel. A nun at shelter told it to me. I think it was real. Of interest I think she was a transplant from Ireland - something like a Premonstratensian. They are all canonical, which is how I met them, while a canonical consultant. They generally are the ones in white garb.

I am all about communing with inanimate objects. My favorite are my smooth rocks from my kids. But I am not picky. My wife sneaks into my closet and removes 10 year old buddies of shirts.

Enjoy this cloud cover on your rounds.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on September 21, 2020:

Good points well taken. I am glad you did your act of Christian charity for the week, by helping that man rehydrate his liver. When I get lonely I talk to a volleyball like Tom Hanks on that island, or else I have a replica of Yorick's skull in my room that I pontificate to, like that dead Dane did.

But on a serious note, that story about the nun was one of the most beautiful ones you have told thus far. Where did you steal that doozy?

Great sermon, as usual.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 21, 2020:

Rania isn't it amazing how many good things come from bad things. I will never figure that out.

God and our love is so close to touching --- well it is touching. We even say something "touched our heart".

This story was told to me when I had the pleasure of working in a shelter. I was not on the "floor", I worked with the fire department, county health and zoning people to keep the place open.

There was a lot of hugging going on. Street peoples seem to hug each other but not strangers.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 21, 2020:

Thank Lorna you are always so supportive. Uplifting words comes in a close second to gentle loving touch. My limited study of oxytocin convinces me even more that value of touch. Naming a hormone cuddle is fun and descriptive.

I never thought about a hug possibly being more empathetic than sympathetic. Hmm?

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 21, 2020:

Thank you Linda.

Rania Heikal from Egypt on September 21, 2020:

Interaction! That blessing that we missed a lot since the beginning of Coronavirus. I loved the situation of the nun and the man so much. Really touched my heart and really sometimes it just costs a simple warm touch to repair and change a life entirely. You are correct, in the time of isolation we interact with God with all our heart. Thank you for the outstanding piece.

Lorna Lamon on September 21, 2020:

We all benefit from social interaction, however, there are those in our communities who follow their own path of isolation for many reasons.

I find in therapy that silence creates a safe place for these people, allowing them to relax, reflect and feel at peace. Sitting beside someone holding their hand shows empathy, and a loving hug can speak volumes. I feel the nun knew this instinctively and look at the result.

I love the way you approach these topics Eric, which cause us to pause and think.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 20, 2020:

I love that story as well, Eric! Oro and Basa certainly sound like an entertaining couple.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 20, 2020:

Linda, Oro (gold) and Basa (catfish) were just as entertaining as could be today. Of course they nibbled my fingers and did some water dancing for me and touched me through the glass. Fish are people too!

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 20, 2020:

John when I was in isolation from my family, it was brutal. So we learned some sign language for hugs and kisses. It helped. Don't know exactly why. I think we can touch no matter what. Still working on it.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on September 20, 2020:

I love the story about the nuns and their visitor. Social interaction is important. I agree with Flourish that valuable company can include our pets, especially those who seem to enjoy interacting with humans, such as dogs and cats.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on September 20, 2020:

What a wonderful sermon this week, especially in current times. I have been sick with the flu (not coronavirus) so have been keeping my distance even more than normal. Not getting close to my wife is a toughy. Yes we certainly need touch.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 20, 2020:

Peggy thank you for adding so much. Just now in the kitchen with my son making cornbread we held utensils together to mix and make heart shapes for mom.

Just that simple hand to hand touch I must learn to treasure.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on September 20, 2020:

Touch is so vital and the pandemic causes many people to lose that ability to be with others for hugs and the like. Those who live alone are more susceptible to the lack of touch. As FlourishAnyway mentioned, even the petting of pets can be a lifeline.

I enjoyed that story about the homeless man and the nun. That interaction may have saved his life in more ways than one.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 20, 2020:

Pamela, careful getting me started on the happy of "verily, verily". Perhaps it applies here. When in doubt enter through the door and greet all those there. Even the sheep?

And how about we get close (at least working on it) to being like Christ, then must we act out side of ourselves and go upon men. A light must be for men to see and not be set under the basket.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 20, 2020:

Oh dear Linda, we are almost done with "I can do it myself dad" cornbread. What is the big deal with spray on instead of just wiping with oil. One of us will figure that out first.

Now that is social interaction at it's peak. Let us join and share together over food. Church was good enough food for the soul, although we did just go through the actuality of angels.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 20, 2020:

I think we all want interaction and touch is important. I really like the nun story when she touched the man changing his life forever. This is such a good article, Eric.

I have been getting up early to read the Bible and I just read John 10 this morning. I really don't believe in coincidences, but what about that? God bless you.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on September 20, 2020:

Eric, we all have the desire, no the NEED to feel that we matter to someone. Without touch, babies fail to thrive—many of them die. Yes, love makes us alive.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 20, 2020:

Tell Stella howdy from me. I am just feeding my fish and playing with the Yeti the hamster. They seem to like me but maybe just because I play with them and feed them. I'll take what I can get.

FlourishAnyway from USA on September 20, 2020:

We need and are made better by the presence of others. The little calico cat on my lap right now, Stella, wishes that I note it includes four legged friends as well.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 20, 2020:

Mr. Happy it is already a great day. A hike down my favorite close canyon. Birds of pray are out in full glory taking chances they only take in a bad drought. The cycles of nature are cool that way.

I almost spanked my daughter 30+ years ago while taking her to get stitched up. The dog hit her hard with his tooth as she stepped on his tail. They slept together after that. Animals are really social -- I reckon part of their genetics to stay alive.

The Lone Wolf talks with the birds.

Even though he is a real pain in my butt I like to hang out with Eric. One ornery SOB.

The differing plains of existence are meant to be a playground for our soul.

Eric Dierker (author) from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on September 20, 2020:

Ain't it just the crap Bill. I love those funny sayings: You can't live with them but you can't live without them. And; "You just can't kill 'em". Personally I am blessed like you man. I just love the one I am with.

Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on September 20, 2020:

“I am a hermit so please leave me alone.”? - I got a buddy who calls me a hobbit, haha!! I do not tell people to live me alone right away but time is always clicking. Haha!! I do prefer non-humans. Please nobody take this personal.

"I would bet that he has it with plants and animals and objects." - Yes, yes, yes!! You know it. But let's do be honest: my biggest struggles, my most traumatic experiences, they never came from a bear, or a wolf, or a fox. No, they came from humans. It is humans who create the biggest hurdles and struggles, not our animal cousins. None of my animal cousins ever deceived me. It is humans who deceive and lie, not the chipmunks. It's the truth.

"I was in my element during the quarantine." - I still am. It's like I've been preparing my entire life for this pandemic. I walk alone for the most part and I feel great! They say when You want to walk fast, walk alone. When You want to walk far, walk together. I like to walk/hike fast and I am always improving on the distance.

"Sometime I would like to meet a person who does not talk to themselves." - That's certainly not me. I talk to myself constantly. I suppose that is it: I am fine entertaining myself. I do not need others for entertainment that much.

"It would seem to me that we simply cannot live without social interaction." - You're right I'd say. Even though I am wary of humans, I do hang-out with my animal cousins, with the Standing People, with Air, Water and Fire. I'm in good company.

Thanks for the piece of writing! Have a great weekend!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 20, 2020:

I tried the isolation bit. It didn't work. Turns out I need people. Damn! Who woulda thunk it? I certainly need Bev. I need my son. Hell, I need you. What a predicament I find myself in.

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