Tonight marks the end of a good, lonely weekend. The Mrs. flew back to Michigan, and I spent the better part of fifty-one hours all to myself.
There is a part of loneliness that is paralyzing, like going to a church where you don’t feel like you know anyone and, what’s worse, you’re positive that no one knows you, and it hurts all the more because of the vague expectation that if there is anywhere that we should be able to be known for who we are, it should be at a church. It is paralyzing to spend so much time alone, without the need to verbalize anything, and then to find yourself around other humans only to discover that your stream of words has all run dry and that a city kid has a better chance of finding a spring in the wilderness than you have of finding a way to dig into your own chest and start your tongue flowing freely again.
There is a part of loneliness that is paralyzing, and there is a part of loneliness that is good. It is good to be reminded, for better or for worse, what sort of fellow you are when there is no one keeping tabs on you. It is good to be free of all the noise that is added to our lives, except for the noise that we ourselves choose, because if nothing else, we have a chance to become conscious of all the distractions that we are directly responsible for. It is good to feel empty, to collapse into the void of our own insufficiency. To feel alone, unsatisfied, discontented. To know that we’re nothing special (in a sense). Or at least, I think it can be good. I know that I’m drawn to that side of loneliness. But I think that maybe it’s only good for a season, every now and then.
Loneliness hurts, but there is an awareness, a consciousness to that pain that seems to be pregnant with meaning. Perhaps the meaning is that the very pain of the void implies that there is something that can fill that space and satisfy our spirits. Perhaps the meaning is that the awareness of just how sad our existence is makes love all the more remarkable. I’ve got nothing, but someone still sees value in me? I’ve been ignored by so many, but someone wants to spend time with me, wants to know me? I’m not sure what the meaning is, and maybe that’s why I’m continually drawn to these lonely places—to slowly unravel this strange significance of being alone.