On Tuesday last week I dragged myself into work at 11am and stared blankly at the screen for a few hours, producing very little of any value. No, that’s not a usual day for me, quite the contrary. It turns out I had contracted the flu and simply couldn’t concentrate.
So, I dutifully went back home, took some bed rest and water and waited for it to subside.
So, on Friday, I went to see the doctor, he prescribed me antibiotics of all things and so I waited the weekend out. It’s Monday now and I am still sick and (as the Texans would put it) going stir-crazy. Let that be a warning to you, oh reader of my blog: this post is the result of a week’s solitary confinement and delirium brought about by that wonderful substance pseudoephedrine.
For a software developer I am usually quite active. I like to go out socially; I can afford to eat out almost every week night and drink out almost every weekend, so I do. I like to go running or walking or driving or just taking pictures, I like to live life and experience new things, so I do. I like to be busy, I like helping people and teaching people and serving people’s needs, so I do. Ironically, it’s most likely this â€œJoie de vivreâ€ that has run down my immune system lately. So this week, all that has stopped and there’s been a lot of peace and quiet around me where there hasn’t been before. Philosophically, I interpret it as God putting a little punctuation mark in my busy lifestyle: a moment to pause, a moment to reflect.Â
It’s moments like these that highlight for me just how alone I really am. Don’t get me wrong, I treasure my independence. I like the fact that I come and go as I please and can organise my life in a way that’s comfortable for me, but we all crave that connection with one other person, a partner to travel with us on this journey that is life. I am desperately sensitive to the fact that most of my friends & colleagues at around my own age are already paired up and having children whereas I haven’t even had what most could call a normal relationship yet.
My mother often asks me â€œhave you found someone yet?â€ she asks out of maternal concern, because she’s worried that I am lonely and possibly because she’s worried about what kind of person I have happened upon to cure that loneliness. Let’s face it, my last foray into romance ended up in a very untenable situation; no one wants a repeat of that scenario, least of all me.
I always answer â€œnoâ€ and smile wanly, but that’s not entirely true. One person does consistently spring to mind, though I don’t mention his name. He’s taken, but that doesn’t stop me pining after him in a most undignified way. He’s Mr. X from my previous post, a very nice chap who spent his previous life as a caregiver for people with mental disabilities. Now, he’s a chef in a popular little restaurant in Auckland and flourishing. He and his partner plan to get married later on this year and I am not sure how I’ll find the grace to go to that ceremony.
In many ways I am grateful for the feelings I feel towards him. To steal a quote from one of my favourite movies (As good as it gets):
â€œI think most people miss that about you, and I watch them, wondering how they can watch you bring their food, and clear their tables and never get that they just met the greatest [person] alive. And the fact that I get it makes me feel good, about me.â€
I stop short of calling it â€œloveâ€ because love implies a two-way thing. Perhaps the words infatuation or limerance would be more appropriate. That said, I am grateful for it because there was a time in my life (not too long ago) when I didn’t think I was able to have those feelings at all. It’s this ability to love that is part of what makes us human, it’s a great thing to experience.
It’s this knowledge that keeps me happy: these heart-rending, jaw-dropping, butterflies-inducing feelings let me know that love is possible, and possibly just around the corner.
The title of this post is taken from a Beatles Song, one of the first pop songs to seriously deal with the issue of loneliness.
Here, Dad, I’m referring, specifically to â€œErosâ€, while not excluding the other three Greek words for love referred to by CS Lewis.