I almost turned the car around and drove home although I had booked a cottage for the night. I didn’t come to Ashland to feel into the loneliness. I wanted a day of escape. Now, I had a sudden longing for home and the usual distractions that occupy me.
There is a lot going on in my life right now. People close to me are gravely sick. I give, sometimes over-give, or just carry the weight of things. I’m taking too many online classes. I need real people who are in good health to counterbalance the rest. Virtual people don’t help with loneliness.
Earlier in the day, I had lunch at a favorite cafe–alone. I went to see a movie–alone. I walked out of the movie theater after fifteen minutes of watching the actors go through torment. Why watch other people’s drama on a big screen? Even if the acting is good, who needs it? I went out to dinner–alone. And now, I’m in a newly renovated cottage, again, alone.
I hadn’t unpacked the car yet. A pang of loneliness surfaced and I got in the car to drive home. As I was driving down the alley, four stately deer blocked my path. They are accustomed to people. They stood there for a few minutes. I waited–the spotlight on them. They were unfazed by the car or me. They neither leapt nor ran. They either stood stationary or they mosied. I groped for the camera and got one hazy photo of the youngest deer, though not a good one. It was at that point that I committed to staying for the night.
This room smells like fresh paint. There is no television. It’s weird to be in a large room without my “stuff” floating around me in familiar disarray. The cottage has a sweet creature comfort–a jacuzzi tub, bath salts and a candle–why not?
I got my luggage from the car and unpacked. I lit the candle, set it beside the tub, said a prayer, took a bath. I practiced the familiar rituals of quieting myself. Tomorrow is another day. For now, it’s my time. Self-nurture can soothe the feeling of loneliness and get one through a difficult moment.
In our culture, there are a lot of lonely people. We certainly aren’t alone in our loneliness.