04/17/2014 02:46 pm ET Updated Jun 17, 2014

Only Connect

"Only connect" is a quote from "Howard's End" by E.M. Foster. It seems to sum up what much of my life is about. Perhaps yours too.

Nothing is more satisfying than connecting, truly connecting, with another soul or group of souls. How often I look forward to it at a forthcoming party or dinner or meeting or whatever. Mostly, however, we skim the surface, maintain our poise, do not penetrate or reveal.

I do connect with Iris, my second wife, my loving partner for the rest of my days. Quietly -- talking or not, touching or not. But my mind is often occupied with so many thoughts and concerns... and I do not let her in. And she is the same. It's OK; it's good. We are there for each other. We do not have to be joined at the hip. And yet....

With my children and grandchildren there is a separateness I'd like to bridge, but maybe that is neither possible or desirable... and yet. Build a lego structure with a 3-year-old and you can really connect. That's why we love them so. But connecting with a 3-year-old is connecting at a 3-year-old level.

I am not a joiner. I am a reader and writer. I am taking people in when I read and reaching out to them when I write. Yes, good. But solitary.

This non-joiner, this 87-year-old non-joiner has a monthly lunch group and has joined an acting class for seniors. We are six fine octogenarian lunchers, and after 12 years, we are getting to know each other. In my acting class, we are 14 guided by a wonderful actress who was in my last play. Acting is a good way to connect. You are not at stake because you are not you.

Only connect. I try, I avoid, I expose, I hide. Is this why people connect with God? That is not open to me. It's you that I am after... and me that I offer. Well, sometimes... and up to a point.