One night alone in my apartment, I felt restless and sad. The water on the river outside my window was unusually dark, opal-black, smooth as glass. A barge sat parked just a little upriver; a string of twinkling white lights hung festively along its deck. It was too early to go to sleep—I wasn't tired anyway—but too late to go out. I didn't feel like reading. I thought about making a phone call; didn't really feel like that, either. I missed my husband. I missed my son. I even missed my mother. What to do with myself? I was staring out my window at that beautiful barge with nothing to do, no one to speak to. Just a person, staring out the window. Can you understand what I mean when I say that as I allowed the feeling of loneliness to arise in me I felt a heartbreaking compassion, recognizing that every person everywhere throughout history has been subject to the very same loneliness I was feeling in that moment? I started to weep, with sadness and awe and grief and joy. I felt connected to the world in a new, different way, admiring the capability of the heart to hold all those feelings at once. Such strong feelings! And of course because it was my heart, too, how full I felt, and complete.

This profound loneliness was, in fact, exactly the opposite of what I'd always been afraid of. I had, I realized, once again meandered into a place that I was, after many years, still unfamiliar with. And once again, it had yielded up a banquet of pleasure, unexpected and glorious.

Getting to Know... Me


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