I share this with you, friends, because I don't know a single soul who has not and will not yet again feel the long loneliness of life.
No matter what the season, no matter where we live, no matter how successful, how seemingly cheery, how pretty, how rich, how poor, how healthy, how sick, how young, how old...we feel it.
Loneliness wafts within the pages of our lives and lingers at times, pressing in and down and around us and making us feel so incredibly, painfully, terribly alone.
At times it can be almost crippling, can't it? To stare out at the world behind this foggy glass. To scream yet no one blinks an eye. To mask such pain with a smile.
Because if there's anything worse than feeling alone, it's telling other people that you don't have it all together and that you are --gasp!--human and flawed and kind of icky in places. And that is scary. And in our culture, often taboo. And you usually feel like you did/said/are "too much."
(Like me...right now...thinking oh dear, this blog is far too heavy. Do I dare hit Publish?)
I used to think this was my problem. That everyone else had it together and it was just me not adequately managing stress/anxiety/faith/etc etc etc. And that once I cleaned myself up and dusted myself off, then--and only then--would I be fit to join the group again.
I was wrong.
Thank you, Dorothy Day, for reminding me how essential community is for all of us. And what great things we can accomplish when we unite.
Postscript from Dorothy Day's The Long Loneliness (emphasis mine):
"We were just sitting there talking when Peter Maurin came in.
We were just sitting there talking when lines of people began to form, saying, "We need bread." We could not say, "Go, be thou filled." If there were six small loaves and a few fishes, we had to divide them. There was always bread.
We were just sitting there talking and people moved in on us. Let those who can take it, take it. Some moved out and that made room for more. And somehow the walls expanded.
We were just sitting there talking and someone said, "Let's all go live on a farm."
It was as casual as all that, I often think. It just came about. It just happened.
I found myself, a barren woman, the joyful mother of children. It is not easy always to be joyful, to keep in mind the duty of delight.
The most significant thing about The Catholic Worker is poverty, some say.
The most significant thing is community, others say. We are not alone any more.
But the final word is love. At times it has been, in the words of Father Zossima, a harsh and dreadful thing, and our very faith in love has been tried through fire.
We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other. We know Him in the breaking of bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone any more. Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship.
We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.
It all happened while we sat there talking, and it is still going on."