“Did you do the Wordle?”
“Wait!! Don’t tell me! I haven’t done it yet!”
Almost every day, these words are likely repeated all across our country, if not the world. Every day, I look forward to the next crack at guessing the five-letter word within six tries, and I look forward to sharing my results with my family and friends. My nine-year-old son also loves the game, and he and I have frequently collaborated to guess the word together. It was a brilliant – and also quite lucrative – idea. I love the game.
Now there are apps that have been developed that do the same thing, and they allow users to play the game repeatedly. It’s not the same experience; it’s not the same excitement.
And this shows how important shared experience truly is.
What makes Wordle so much fun is that everyone is doing it at the same time. There is only one word per day. And, once you make the guess, you can share your experience with the world. And in that shared experience is fulfillment that a repeated “Wordle” app simply does not provide.
Share experience helps remind us that we are not alone. It reminds us that we are part of a larger whole, and in that shared experience there is comfort and fellowship. Religious faithful engage in shared experience all the time, whether it be in weekly worship sessions or larger spiritual events such as Lent – going on now – or Ramadan, which starts on April 2. Wordle is yet another one of these shared experiences.
We in healthcare have been enveloped in an unprecedented shared experience going on three years now. In the beginning, there was the thrill of being on the front lines of the “global pandemic.” As that thrill faded with the relentless waves of death and suffering, we then had a shared experience of grief and pain. And now, we have a shared experience of anger and exhaustion.
And in those shared experiences is comfort and fellowship, something we as human beings can hardly forgo.
What’s more, the experience of Wordle solidifies how important it is for us human beings to be together. Having seen what this virus can do to people, I was sympathetic to the impulse to lock down society, so we don’t cause more death and destruction and overwhelm the healthcare system (which causes further death and destruction).
The cost of that, it is becoming very clear, was high in many instances. Human beings don’t do well when they are isolated. It is a tough balance, and I hope we can learn how to do things better the next time a pandemic hits our shores (which is inevitable).
Wordle shows how fulfilling shared experiences are. I hope that – in this unprecedented time of division – we can use whatever means to come together as a people. It is essential for our survival as a people.