Happy Monday, dear strangers. I hope you all had a magical weekend in unicorn proportions, and yet still had a chance to feel heart-broken over some of the terrible things that happened during it. Feeling heart-broken is good, sometimes. It means you're alive and still have the ability to care.

Ok, so the elephant in the room. I know I've written about loneliness a couple of times now. And those posts basically seemed like a cry for help. And I know exactly what you all pictured when you read them.

Eli McCann, sitting in a dark room, his 47-53 cats walking all around him, meowing, while he listens to the Wilson Phillips' hit single "Hold On," crying.

Totally inaccurate though. I don't even have a copy of "Hold On." I don't need it. It's written on my heart (picture me dancing right now).

A whole bunch of you left comments and sent emails to let me know that you all totally have my back. But probably not in the gang way. Like, you support me and love me, but if I got attacked by another gang, you would probably all just run away. And that's cool. I would do the same if you got attacked by a gang. And, for all I know, I might even divert all the attention onto you by pointing in your direction and saying "this guy has been calling you guys fat ALL DAY!" just to make sure I'm not targeted.

I don't know. I've never been in a gang fight so it's hard to say how I might respond. I'm just assuming I would be a team player right up until there was any chance of getting shanked. Then I would immediately align myself with the majority and act like I had been there all along.

Unless you guys were just thinking that you would have my back even in a gang fight, in which case, yeah, totally. Me too.

So whether we're a gang or just a loose affiliation of migrant strangers sharing a connection up to the point of a possible risk of shanking, I appreciate those emails and comments very much. I hope I've been really clear about that.

And I also hope that you all know that the reason I've discussed my recent experience with loneliness was not so I could totally get lots of attention and have you throw me a pity party.

But, like, if you were already planning one, we might as well still have it. Also, if you could do a pinata, that would be awesome. And maybe Paul Simon could jump out of a cake. Just spit-balling here. Don't trouble yourselves too much. You know I hate it when you make a fuss.

The reason I've been talking about loneliness is because it's sort of a new thing that I'm experiencing. And I'm trying to be more honest about the whole range of life experiences I'm having so you don't think that I'm a one-trick pony in a constant state of mocking hysteria.

Guys. I have other feelings too. I'm versatile. I'm a double-threat when it comes to emotions. Yeah I make fun of animals. But I cry when Sarah McLachlan sings about them, too.

And I'm actually kind of happy, way way deep down, that I'm having this specific experience right now. Because it's making me appreciate so many things in ways I hadn't really appreciated them before, or, to a higher degree than ever before. Feeling lonely is helping me to love people more. And it's helping me to notice more quickly when someone near me needs me to love them more.

There's a short film from the '70s, somewhat well-known in Mormondom, called "The Mailbox." It's about an elderly widow who lives alone and whose children and grandchildren never visit or write. So she spends large portions of her afternoon every day standing outside, waiting for the mailman to come and . . . not bring her anything. There's one scene where she's sitting in her dark and quiet house at night, looking at a picture of her deceased husband. Her voice, cracking with old lady heart-breaking emotion, shatters the silence as she says, "I'm just so lonely."

It makes you want to go surgically attach yourself to all of your grandparents and a dozen other old people you don't even know. And anyone who has a soul at this point in viewing the film attempts to climb through the television to hug the hell out of this woman. And then go throw away all the newspapers and magazines in her closets from the 1950s because you KNOW she's hoarding.

That reaction of charity was surely the producers' intended consequence in making the film. Because as sad as it can feel to talk about the kinds of tough things people face, be it loneliness, loss, abuse, etc., cognizance inspires change. And if that change is tied up in people being a little kinder to one another, then that cognizance is a really wonderful thing.

Awe heck. Maybe I would have your backs in a gang fight.

~It Just Gets Stranger