October 26, 2021:

My much younger colleague shares with me the life of struggle.

I clearly note the pain in her eyes — loneliness, confusion, the sense that others fail to accept her. She feels set apart, with all the disorientation that engenders.

In an earlier life era I'd have tried to help her. I adopted strays, to my ultimate cost. It was artifact and symptom of my own struggle. Where I quite falsely imagined I needed someone with similar experiences to mine, to understand one another.

Today I offer her sociability. I make sure she knows she's invited, that we want to include her, and her presence is valued. Yet still when she does attend there's such depth of loneliness in her eyes. Alone in a room of well-wishers.