After a couple comments and emails about my "Alone and Lonely" post on Friday night, I feel the need to explain....
I had a couple friends over on Friday night. We sat around having pizza, drinking wine, playing board games, talking, and laughing. We had a great time! I am thankful that I have great friends after such a short time in Bethel. It was after they left that the immense feeling of loneliness hit me.
I am not alone and lonely in the way that many people think of those words. Here are the definitions according to the American Heritage College Dictionary:
adj. 1. Being apart from others; solitary. 2. Being without anyone or anything else; only. 3. Considered separately from all others of the same class. 4. Being unequaled.
adv. 1. Without others. 2. Without help. 3. Exclusively; only.
Synonyms: alone, lonely, lonesome, solitary. These adjectives describe lack of companionship. Alone emphasizes being apart from others but does not necessarily imply unhappiness. Lonely connotes painful awareness of being alone. Lonesome emphasizes a plaintive desire for companionship. Solitary often stresses physical isolation that is self-imposed.
adf. 1. without companions; lone. 2. Characterized by aloneness; solitary. 3. Unfrequented by people; desolate. 4. Dejected by the awareness of being alone.
I am not lacking of things to do. In fact, I have more things to do than are possible in any given day. I am not solitary. I have friends here and in other places. In fact, I have great friends. Friends who call, who write, who stop by, who email, who comment on this blog (though not as often as they should), and I even have friends who write whole blog posts on their blog to try and cure my loneliness(Thanks, Kale). I have friends who I can laugh with and friends I can cry with. Friends who cant wait to see me next. I live with a 12 year old who keeps me endlessly busy, if not amused. I have two dogs by my side as I write this. I have students and coworkers that fill my days with joy (and some headaches, too). I have a church family to alight my way. My body and mind are constantly stimulated (maybe not as much as is possible, but definitely enough to deter loneliness in the common sense). I have a career that keeps me busy, satisfied, and involved. I live in a place that is unique and interesting.
The loneliness that I am feeling is not the same as being bored or solitary. It is not the same as being unhappy or depressed. It is not about where I am or who I'm with. What I am feeling does not fall into the definitions of alone or lonely as defined above. It is not a result of not having enough to do or people to be with. It is not a result of despair or solitude.
In fact, my loneliness is exactly the opposite of all of the above. My loneliness is a result of the fact that my life is so rewarding, so fulfilling, so wonderful. My friends, as great as they are, go home at the end of the evening (like Friday night), the say goodbye and hang up at the end of a telephone conversation. They email and write from the comfort of their own lives, which are separate from mine. My students and coworkers have lives of their own. My brother is just a child and the dogs are, well, just dogs. Neither of which are equals or can fill the space that makes me lonely. And all of that is just as it should be.
What I am missing...What makes me lonely...is that I have no one to share all the joys and wonders of life. No one to share the ups and downs of life with. No partner, no companion, no mate. No one to love unconditionally. No one to be their at the beginning and the end of each day, each week, each month, each year. No one to share my deepest dreams and my darkest fears. No one to share my heart and soul with. What I am missing is that someone who doesn't go home at the end of the night. The person who never says goodbye.
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