The Opposite of Loneliness
Posted on 11/07/2014 @ 09:00 AM
“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.” The feeling of the opposite of loneliness is something I have been searching for my entire life, hoping this year could provide some clarity for me. This year, though, I want to find more than my opposite of loneliness; I want to find what makes the members of AZA and BBG feel the opposite of loneliness.
This desire was reaffirmed at CLTC 7 this past summer where my co, Hannah Stulberg, and I read an edited passage from the book The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. Keegan was a stellar author from Yale University on the search for the opposite of loneliness before her life was taken away in a car accident. It taught me that we can all find an opposite of loneliness in our lives, and I hope to find this year that for others.
“It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together.” One of the greatest things about this year so far has been the communities I’ve visited and seen that no one stands alone and, the best part about the communities I’ve seen, is that no two are the same.
I spent a week in Rocky Mountain Region where I saw the AZA community they have built on brotherhood and some incredible traditions. I spent the week leading up to Fall Convention staying with numerous Alephs in the region and, during that week, every family made sure I never felt lonely and I always felt at home. I was anxious to see the full RMR community at Fall Convention and, when I did, I was blown away. At the Pink Shabbat service Friday night, I felt at home. I felt a level of respect and passion towards the topic of cancer research and awareness. I was able to share my own experience with cancer and the community of RMR let me open and talk about how my past communities made sure I felt the opposite of loneliness. I felt every single of the 127 people at the convention and I felt great.
I had heard about the incredible brotherhood and passion of the Alephs of RMR, yet I was ready to feel it for myself. During spirit, I felt a feeling I have never really felt before. Everything I had heard about RMR spirit was true and it was the most passionate and exciting spirit I have ever been a part of. What was so special about it was that every Aleph in that circle felt the opposite of loneliness. I saw every single Aleph cheering and showing how much they care. Thank you, RMR, for showing me what true brotherhood is and how to make members in the community feel the opposite of loneliness.
After leaving Denver, I went to New England Region for a week as well for their kickoff. I spent the week with various members through the Boston area as well as Providence, Rhode Island. I want to fast forward to a moment at New England Region Kickoff which stuck out to me as a time where I felt exhilarated and empowered to make others feel the opposite of loneliness. We were well into the cheer session when an Aleph from NER, Yishai Barth, started talking. I didn’t really know going in what cheer he was prepping all of us for, but I was anxious to figure it out. Yishai started talking about how AZA is more than just a bunch of guys and how it is truly a brotherhood and how it takes every single one of us to be loud and to make a difference. He was talking about the cheer “Never too many,” one of my favorites. Yishai said we start low for the cheer because we came from a low place and we started as few, but we built a community that is strong and mighty and that is why we rise up, get louder and jump like crazy.
I now am spending my time with Michigan Region meeting the community here in the Detroit area. I am excited to be attending Fall Convention and Global Shabbat this weekend with my brother Alephs and sister BBGs. I can’t wait to meet the community in Michigan and find what the opposite of loneliness means to the members here.
We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I’d say that’s how I feel in BBYO. How I feel right now. Here. With all of you. In love, impressed, humbled, scared. And we don’t have to lose that. We’re in this together, BBYO. Let’s make something happen to this world.
Fraternally submitted with an undying love for,
Athens of the South AZA #258, Cotton States Region #72, CLTC 5 2011, CLTC 7 2014, feeling the opposite of loneliness, the Grand Order of the Aleph Zadik Aleph and the 7 Cardinal Principles upon which it stands,
I will forever remain Aleph Samuel Albert Perlen