I'd like to share a couple of very profound moments for me this past year.

The first was at a store where I couldn't help but to cry because there was no human connection. It was completely absent. We have been deprived of interaction, touch, and facial expressions this past year, all things that are vital to the psychological and emotional well-being of humans, all normal and natural ways people connect. God showed me many years ago how a smile can mean the difference between life or death for a person. It can give someone hope. It can encourage them. And it can convey to them that they do matter in this world.

More recently, I was leaving the hospital after an appointment when a woman in a wheelchair reached out to me, took my hand, and asked how I was doing. That was a very special moment because even though we don't know each other, there was a connection there. God just knew what I needed at that moment and knew what she also needed at that moment. We might have each needed something a bit different, but at the same time we both needed human connection. If you are the woman who was in that wheelchair and you recognize this story of our interaction, I want to say thank you so very much for sharing that moment of connection with me. It was only a moment, but it felt like much longer. It was over a month ago, but I will never forget every detail of that encounter.

We have got to get back to connecting with one another. Human connection is at the heart of our health. Whether or not we prioritize human connection may determine the kind of world we leave to our children (one connected and human or disconnected and self-centered). The mental health of many has suffered because of deprivation of connection and they lost the will to thrive. When it comes to human connection there is not a new normal vs old normal, but rather being human vs not being human.

Elizabeth Delgado, Grand Forks