Tuesday, February 19, 2008

12,000 nights

"the more I think about loneliness, the more I think that the wound of loneliness is like the Grand Canyon - a deep incision in the surface of our existence which has become an inexhaustible source of beauty and self-understanding." Henri Nouwen

I see a lot of loneliness. I feel a lot of loneliness. A recently divorced woman tells me she lives in too much silence - it is the pain of her life. My haircutter has moved back to England because her kids have left home and she is lonely for her mom and her country. I miss her accent and her funky cuts. A man whose wife has become remote to him walks around like an empty iPod, no music, no light step, no life in his eyes.

I sleep beside Steve every night. I have done this for something over 12,000 nights. (There is a title for a dull movie, "12,000 nights." Laughing ) I like very much that he is beside me like a log, snoring or hogging blankets, or making me laugh.

Last night he said, before he fell asleep, "Has it turned out like you thought it would?" I said, "No. It is a lot better than I ever expected." He said, "Me too. I am very happy." Then I said, "If I die, it will probably be in my car. I hope the damage is not very much so you can get it fixed and give it to Rachel." He said, "If you die in your car I hope the damage is total, that the car is unrecoverable. If you die in your car I want to be able to think that you didn't feel a thing, that it was immediate, that you didn't suffer." I said,"Well then, use the insurance to buy Rae a new car."

This is the kind of conversation people who have slept together for 12,000 nights have. It doesn't mean we are never lonely. But it is nice to have someone around to tell when loneliness hits.


rachel said...

thanks for thinking of me, i think... :)


karen said...

There is much to be learned and enjoyed in silence. There is also much to be learned from loneliness. However, I think our culture has too much loneliness. We are not connected as we should be. Independence has been given moral status, busyness is seen as virtue, reliance is seen as weakness. I believe we can learn from loneliness, but I also believe in moderation in many things, including loneliness.

Marilyn said...

well said - moderation is underrated. And moderation in loneliness is a good idea - do you blog by the way miss Karen?

karen said...


Mrs Moose said...

"In the world of people and things, I do sometimes experience moments that have a sense of completeness--moments of union with God and others and the world beyond--but most times these moments are fleeting and give only a taste of what my heart is longing for. The truth is, they often seem to exacerbate longings that I now know will never be completely satifsfied here on this earth. No matter how beautiful such moments are, they are often fraught with a painful awareness of human separateness even from those we love the most .... Such moments are tastes of eternity that make me long for more of eternity; oftentimes the longing is so painful that tears come." R. H. Barton

I wonder, Miss Karen, if what you are presuming to learn from loneliness is the wrong thing... if we could choose to moderate our loneliness, and make permanant our sense of Completeness with others and with God, in this place, in this world, then I think we would, indeed.

But if we are listening to what our culture is telling us, and to what Mariyln is echoing with rigorous honesty, than what we might learn from our loneliness is that it is a 'wound like the Grand Canyon', while demonstrating to us the Beautiful Union still to be realized. It is about Hope, if we are listening.


Miss Karen said...

Thank you for your words, Mrs. Moose. You have given me a lot to think about.

Marilyn said...

Karen, meet Mrs. Moose. Mrs. Moose, meet Karen. smile

Jeremiah said...

A man whose wife has become remote to him walks around like an empty iPod, no music, no light step, no life in his eyes.
--- this is beautiful.

GREAT story.