WHERE I AM: On the train from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. I have an entire seat to myself...ahhh, sweet rest.
WHAT I DID TODAY: Went to a museum and saw an exhibit on Morris Sendak, author of "Where the Wild Things Are." The museum was close to where my friend worked, and she was my ride to the train station at noon.
WHAT I'M DRINKING: Amtrak coffee. Again.
WHERE I'M GOING TOMORROW: I am exploring Pittsburgh...a city I know nearly nothing about. I am staying with a couple from a local Christian and Missionary Alliance Church who I can't wait to meet. They sound great!
Oct. 21, 2008
The question is common on this trip: Do I get lonely?
There is something inherently lonely about watching the world glide by from the window of a passing train, hearing only muffled sounds of wheel on rail, of conversation, of someone turning the pages of a book.
It is lonely to see something you've never seen before and have no one with whom to share the excitement.
Interacting with strangers can be lonely since both parties know there is no history, and likely no future, of knowing each other.
Then again, it is possible to be lonely in the company of friends or husband or wife. My friends who are moms speak of their rush of words when their husband returns home after work -- and their bitterness when he is too tired to listen.
Maybe loneliness is inherent in being human. The presence of people, even when the connection is intimate, does not drive it away. The hardest heart of the most solitary man is not immune. And even saints of the faith -- Mother Theresa, Hudson Taylor, the apostle Paul -- spoke of crushing loneliness.
Yes, I get lonely. But that does not mean I am alone.