Thursday, 6 March 2014

Grass is Always Greener...

Terribly bad homesickness today after waking up at 9AM. Waking late is never a good sign. My preferred time to awake is 6:45 AM, which is about when my youngest sister gets up to get ready for work, soon followed by the next-youngest sister.

It feels very strange to be in an empty house again. No parents. No siblings No children. And not much sunlight, as our flat in the Historical House is in the attic, and the walls and windows slope. The ceilings are low, and on a day like today I feel that the reason my neck hurts so much is from years of the roof closing in on my head.

I love silence, but I prefer companionable silence, the silence of a sibling in their own room reading or of a parent listening to the television through her headphones or typing on the computer in his basement office. The silence of a cloth-swathed museum is something else entirely. The ghost (if it is a ghost) makes its presence felt very, very rarely, and then it is not particularly companionable, just alarming.

Fortunately, I had a Pilates class today, but I fell into the doldrums again when I discovered I had left the house without my wallet. I cannot imagine leaving my parents' house without my wallet. Of course my leavings there are also a mad scramble, but...

This house is terribly quiet, and the only living creature in it right now is me unless some spider in some some corner has been allowed to survive. As it is a Historical House, there is a team of specialists to make sure any little beasties who might damage it are slaughtered at once.

So far there are no bats in the very top of the attic, which is actually a mercy, for in Scotland bats have more rights than people, and once a bat is in your Scottish attic, there is no getting him out. That said, I rather like bats. Scottish bats are not scary; the wee ones that zoom about our woods at sunset look like hang-gliding hamsters. I don't think they would make good pets, though they would certainly look out for themselves when we were on holidays.

When I was in Toronto, I was struck by the loneliness of some of my friends. They had different kinds of loneliness. There was Single loneliness. But there was also the loneliness of the consecrated surrounded by the unconsecrated. There was mother-at-home-with-baby loneliness--a particularly poignant kind, hard for the childless--or working husbands--to understand. And there was also the loneliness of those who were far from their families, having chosen love in Toronto over returning home. Loneliness seems to be a fact of life, and there's no escaping it entirely.


Sheila said...

True enough. I'm recovering right now from a very lonely week of visiting my family. Lonely, because I've discovered how very little I have in common with them. I want to show them I love them, but I don't really like being there. It's strange and sad.

I wish I had bats in my attic. The mosquitoes here are awful; a few bats would make a big difference.

Anonymous said...

Dear Seraphic,

Loneliness is a particularly difficult suffering. Combined with homesickness and wham! it can be a seriously desperate case. I went through a black time last month when all I wanted was my home, my mom, my siblings, by language (I'm living overseas) and my food; I even wanted my brother's dog! So yes, it was pretty bad.

But it's okay to be lonely sometimes. Besides prayers and spiritual reflections, all of which are necessary and good, have some tear-water tea, light a candle or two and enjoy the pity-party. Then read about Susan Boyle. Talk about a feisty single lady! You know, the woman who almost won "Britain's Got Talent" a few years ago? She is a practicing Catholic too, which I didn't realize before now.

All of this is to say, keep the lamp filled with oil and the salt fresh. And never forget that if there is something that God wants for each of us, it's to be really, really stinkin' happy. There is a life to live and joy to share.

By the way, I love your blog! It keeps this single life in such humorous perspective! When I return to my home country, I'm buying TWO of your books (Ceremony of Innocence)and telling more of my friends so they buy to. Promise!

Magdalena said...

It does help me to see that married people, without kids, but also with little kids, can feel lonely too. Single loneliness sometimes is quite overwhelming for me. There rarely is a weekend during which I don’t meet friends or do some activity, but still, as soon as I am in my flat alone, the loneliness creeps over me again. For some people, “there are other people who are worse off than you” is not helpful at all, but for me this really alleviates things, as the most depressing part of being lonely is the feeling of personal failure (other people manage to have 100 friends, why don’t I).
Every person feels lonely somewhere deep within, and this emptiness can only be filled by God Himself, and not by anything other human beings can do. For me, this knowledge is wonderfully relaxing. Well, at least most of the time. And homesickness is awful.

Julia said...

Perhaps this will not alleviate your loneliness at all, but I meant to mention it anyway. 'Ceremony of Innocence' is being sold at the main Catholic bookshop in Melbourne, all the way over here in the antipodes! That's not where I bought it but I spotted it by chance when I was there the other day.

Seraphic said...

Thank you! That's nice to know. And I have amusing news that has really cheered me up.

Elizabeth said...

I have been struggling with this too. The Single kind of loneliness. Having roommates helps. But I find that I really miss the physical touch and love that I get with my family.

Seraphic said...

Yes, this 20th century mania for moving as far away as one's family as practical certainly has its drawbacks. I well understand the need to move away from one's parents to grow up--ideally by going away to university (if mature enough) or by working a few years on whatever the contemporary equivalent of the railroads is, but if one is fond of one's family, why not draw up a new "contract" (i.e. I am an adult and will come and go as a I please, but will pay you rent or do significant chores without prompting) and live with it!?