Friday, November 19, 2010

Living Alone

'Tis better to be alone than in bad company.

President George Washington
Oh Jonah he lived in de whale
Oh Jonah he lived in de whale
For he made his home in dat fish's abdomen
Oh Jonah he lived in de whale
(Ira Gershwin)

Since I retired, 9 years ago, I've been living by myself. I'm not completely antisocial, I'm not a hermit. I occasionally see folks and have a brief chat. But basically I'm alone. And it's good for me.

I don't preach aloneness as a way of life for everyone, but it has been a boon for me . I have been in bad company in my time. Usually it was because I was lonely and went out looking for companionship. I found it, of course, but it wasn't always the best kind. I realized that soon enough and tried to ignore the behavior of people around me. When I couldn't do that I just withdrew back into myself, licked my wounds and prided myself for not being like other men. It is easy to find faults and criticize when it comes to other people.

But since being a loner I've had a lot of time to spend thinking about my past relationships and realizing I have a bucket full of forgiving to do. I had an obligation to myself and to others to refrain from my criticism, treat people with respect and not expect them to be what they aren't. I overlooked that obligation. I'm sorry. But as the hours and days of my solitariness slip by I am changing my ways and my attitudes about other people.

Most people know the story of Jonah and the whale. But how many people know how he got into that fix in the first place? He was fleeing from an obligation. He didn't want to face a nasty task of warning people about a possible destruction of their city. He was sure no one would believe him, and if it didn't happen he would look like a fool. So he sailed away on the next ship.

He would have gotten away with it but a terrible storm came up, the frightened sailors threw him overboard, and that's when he met the whale.

He spent three days living "in dat fish's abdomen" and when indigestion finally cause the whale to burp him up on the shore Jonah was a changed man. Was it splashing around in sea water or fighting off the whales digestive juices that changed him? No. It was finally being by himself and facing his circumstances, his arrogance and his failure to fulfill his obligation. So he returned to the city, warned the people, who did believe him, they took the necessary actions and saved themselves.

Surviving three days in "the belly of the beast" is a drastic way to learn one's lessons. It shouldn't happen to anyone. For me it's been nine years in my solitary sanctorum, alone, sometimes lonely, but always learning. If life ever burps me up on the shore I will be a different man.

DB - The Vagabond

(This is not a contest.)

At what event of the past do you wish you could be present? Why?

8 responses so far.

Thank you.


pacifica62 said...

I have been living alone for about 10 years now and most of the time I quite enjoy it. There are other alternatives that would not appeal to me much. I can be good company for myself and my time is my own. When I am at work I have to deal with people all of time which has its' moments. When I get home, nobody is yakking at me or wanting something and I relish that solitude. My lifestyle demands that I am completely honest with myself. I can't fool myself and have no one to blame for any misfortunes other than myself. No point in embellishing the truth because I alone know what the truth is. It simplifies life considerably. I like Mr. Washington's quote.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I would not subject anyone to me on a full-time basis.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Introspection, a wonderful gift.

Lori said...

Made me think of, "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife." (Or husband, or whatever.) Prov.25:24