Loneliness and Why We Feel It

A subtle sadness gradually sneaks in through the walls, into the furniture, on each surface. A sheath of disappointment glistens on top of the fabric of the couch. The music is dulled and made more ordinary because nothing is quite extraordinary. The apples on the table are not truly red but a shade less bright. Being alive is okay but not quite fulfilling.

The mind and the heart crave a distraction. They don’t want to feel dull  and dissatisfied. The most powerful stimulant they know is love, so they decide they want love. They decide they are lonely. Ah, now they have a diagnosis, so everything is simpler: the problem is loneliness, therefore the solution is the lack of loneliness, the presence of passionate love. Actionable step towards the solution: go find passionate love. The mind and the heart have figured it out, simply.

Yet the heart/mind is very good at forgetting when forgetting suits it. Some voice of reason asks, as though from far, far away:

“When was the last time passionate love solved anything?”

Silence.

The voice gets closer. It’s deep and authoritative, it demands to be heard.

“When was the last time passionate love brought peace and contentment?”

Silence and quiet recalling of episodes past. Passionate love, unmet expectations, disappointment. Somehow the outcomes do not match the intentions.

The voice fills all audible space now. Powerful and full, it’s the type of voice one doesn’t argue with.

“Why pursue this thing called passionate love then? … passionate love then? … love then? … then?” The voice reverberates in the empty space of my head.

“Because it brings hope,” a tiny, child’s voice says.

Every time love blooms, it seems like this time it will work out fine. This time everything will be just right and our hearts will sing. Just this time it won’t fall apart inside our very palms as we try to cradle it to life.

And then, inadvertently, it does fall apart.

It’s unbelievable that our hearts can find it in them to hope again next time. It’s the miracle of the human heart: that in any situation, at any time, our hearts can love again.

That’s because love makes our hearts sing. The heart remembers more powerfully how it sang than how it wept. This is why every time it finds the courage to sing again, even if that means it will have to weep again.

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