I went to a wedding recently and, of course, it got me to thinking about the whole love and togetherness thing. Theodore Sturgeon, the brilliant science fiction author, once said “You write a story about loneliness, and you grab them all because everybody’s an expert on that one.” But I’m not. Maybe I once was but I’m not now.
And God tells me that that surprises some people.
It was in the days when I was least alone that I think I might have known something about it. These days, when I’ve been living alone for a decade and a half, and out of romantic entanglements for much longer than that, loneliness is one of the furthest things from my mind. This isn’t to say that I want to be alone, but I don’t mind it. Actually, not only don’t I mind it, I much prefer it to many of the forms of being together that I’ve seen, and to most that I’ve been in, at least of the more-than-just-friends variety.
I like myself. I like spending time with myself. And according to God, that’s the biggest reason that I haven’t had a lasting relationship. It takes a certain desperation for most people to overcome the inherent complications of intimacy in order to form a union, in order to become a couple, with all the compromises and friction that that involves. And sure some of the friction, of the literal kind, actually helps to make it worthwhile, but much of it, of the metaphorical kind, doesn’t.
So while I might like to have someone around, someone to share the ups and downs, and the discoveries and the revisitations, I need a special kind of someone, someone who is happy with himself, someone who doesn’t need me and who won’t mind that I don’t need them. And someone like that? Well, they don’t have much motivation to find me.
So it’s a good thing I’m happy with myself. But then, maybe it would be an even better thing if, by way of incentive, I were just a little more familiar with being lonely.