It was my husband’s birthday yesterday, but he was not here. I was home alone while he was working much too hard on a gig in New York City. We often joke that the success of our long marriage is that we spend more time apart than together. Apparently, missing each other is good for the heart. Nonetheless, I was feeling lonely and blue.
I spent some good quiet time in the barn after I fed the girls their dinner. I brushed them and picked their feet extra carefully. I realize how lucky I am to have these two beautiful horses, but as I walked up to the house, I still felt sad that Mark wasn’t inside, finishing up his day in his office. I had Stella, the love dog, to greet me, and she spent a good part of the evening driving me crazy with an insatiable desire to play, play, play. I kept reminding myself that I should be grateful that she is healthy enough now after her serious bout with Ehrlichia disease to want to play with me. Eventually, I tired her out so she calmed down.
I had plenty of friends that I could call, but I didn’t really feel like having any conversation. Sometimes, I feel most alone when I’m in a room full of other people having conversations. I really just wanted to be with my honey, sitting together on the couch. I reminded myself that I had been teaching my daughter to learn to enjoy herself by herself. I was an only child, as she is, and there were many times when I was afraid to be alone in my life. That no longer happens, but it did seem like I needed to follow my own advice. For the last few weeks, my home has been full of activity. We just had a wonderful visit here with a very close friend that we love very much. I’ve been telling myself that I was looking forward to a chance to be alone and recalibrate and balance myself again. So, here I am, and out of the blue, I’m feeling lonely.
I thought about something that Thomas Merton said: “Yet it is in this loneliness that the deepest activities begin. It is here that you discover act without motion, labor that is profound repose, vision in obscurity, and, beyond all desire, a fulfillment whose limits extend to infinity…The man who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much he may surround himself with people. But the man who learns, in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with his own loneliness, and to prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship, comes to know the invisible companionship of God… I shall lead you through the loneliness, the solitude you will not understand; but it is my shortcut to your soul.”
I decided to sit with it. Don’t turn on the TV or watch a movie. Don’t pick up the phone and call someone. Just refill the well and clear the static out of my brain. I imagined a full moon over a calm lake surrounded by tall pine trees. I felt my muscles relax and my thoughts float away in the clear sky. By the time I took the dog out for her last call, I was at ease in the silence, happy to be in my yard in the deep dark with mother Luna, the bright moon overhead. Contentment spread like a blanket over my little world.
I was asleep by the time my husband got back to his hotel and called me. So deep asleep that I wasn’t really able to talk to him. “Miss me?” he asked. Yes, but it’s okay.