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Today I wrote an article about a news story I was following, concerning women who go to spas in big cities. It isn’t prima donnas and Hollywood starlets that go, but just down to earth middle class women. And they’re not just looking for a massage, or a manicure or pedicure. They’re looking for friendship and sisterhood, without the back stabbing. The women who worked at the spas (mostly immigrants) said that the ladies wanted someone they could tell their troubles to, someone to share their broken hearts with, and occasionally their joy. One woman cries every time she’s there, mainly because there is no one else in her life to turn to. Isn’t that tragic?

What is wrong with our world that we don’t get close anymore? No one seems to really care about anyone but themselves, and their immediate family. We have become an isolated society, going to work, and then retreating to our bedrooms to stare at the TV, or surf the net. We don’t have connections or a sense of community anymore.

In some respects, things were better many years ago, when people had extended families to help them through their struggles.

When we adopted our daughter, at the age of 3, it was very rough for us. We were a little older than some parents, and my husband is 8 years older than me. So that makes our mothers just about ancient. (Just kidding.) But the truth is, our moms were much older than most grandmothers these days, and they were both sick, as well. So we had no one to turn to. My little girl came with emotional hurts, and it was difficult raising her without the help of others. (The one thing I agree with Hillary Clinton about is…it does take a village.) But we didn’t have a village. We didn’t have anyone. All our babysitters were hired, and there was rarely any chance for us to get away together. It’s not that the money was a problem, but who can you trust with your child these days? It took a long while to find those few that we could.

I desperately needed a mom who wasn’t sick and aging. I needed some counseling from my church, but all I got was scripture verses and platitudes. (I needed more.) I needed a friend who would say, “I’ll take her overnight, while you rest.” But I had to do it all alone and isolated. And it was more than I had bargained for. I was prepared to comfort her, but I was not prepared for how angry she would be. (Or that because I was in the place of her mother, who gave her up, she would take out all her pain, insecurity, and frustration on me.) It was a very rough time. I had to be treated for a severe depression, because I had no one to lean on for support.

And so we come back to this story, of these lonely, forsaken women, who have no one to turn to, but an immigrant worker in a hole-in-the-wall spa. They have to pay to tell their story, just as I must pay my counselor to tell mine. Has it really come to this? Are we so alienated from each other that we have to pay someone to listen, because we have no one to share our pain and (sometimes our happiness) with? How tragic…


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