Sounds and silence
This past weekend, an old friend of mine was in town. “Old” as in we’d known each other from a few years back, yet not “old” as in known that well.
We spent a month together, attending an asinine Army school known now as Warrior Leadership Training, but back then as Primary Leadership Development Course.
The idea is that troops need to know how to be noncomissioned officers. And they (we) do. There’s a lot to cover, going from just another dude to someone who is part parent/disciplinarian/mentor.
So this course was the Army’s answer to that. There were some good tidbits among the month of random cleaning details, uniform inspections and hour upon hour of monotone lectures; but, by and large, PLDC or WLC (depending on how old school you are) is something that is endured. And this friend of mine and I, did just that.
We laughed, we laughed more and we cried from laughing. Apart from the course itself, we had a pretty good time.
Anyways. She was in town visiting a clutch of friends of hers that still hang out in the area and wanted to catch up. She also had her 17-month-old son, who was a cute kid. Many of her friends also had young children. So I spent my weekend in the bosom of young parenthood, among the fights, poopy diapers and frequent screeches.
Which, as you might know, is a very different atmosphere than I’m used to.
Apart from my family, whom I am blessed to be loved by and love wholeheartedly, I have been alone for my whole life. As a military child, I learned to start over every couple of years. There is no home. There is no childhood friendship. There really is nothing consistent other than change.
This is good in that it can make a person very self-sufficient, but it also teaches someone to remain very emotionally distant.
I’ve also been completely alone in my “adult” life—not for lack of trying. Call it bad luck, call it awkwardness, who knows, I swing and miss with the whole relationship thing.
It folds in with the motif of the street urchin looking in someones window to a family enjoying warmth and laughter. It’s just a different world.
So the weekend was a little jarring, to be honest—a good jarring, though.
In little bits, I had someone in my life for a few hours a day. I watched the little guy play. I kept him from falling. I carried him around. It was nice.
I also was completely exhausted after she put him to sleep. Hats off to parents—especially single parents. I knew it was excruciating, but wow, yeah. Still, it was only my first day-ish. I imagine it’s just like running, I’ll have to work up to the longer-distance thing.
So now, back at house, no kids, alone is more alone than ever. Quiet is more quiet. My thoughts resonate too much. There’s no one else to bounce ideas off of. There’s no one to share in things.
Alone has always sucked, to be honest. Sure, there’s freedom in aloneness, which I’m sure is missed by those tied down, but there’s also a cold emptiness, a pins-and-needles numbness from standing in a snowy evening too long. Things are stiff. Laughing at a movie screen feels weird. Sitting by the kitchen at a restaurant never gets fun.
I know God has a plan, and, ultimately, I do trust in it. I throw impatient spats now and again. I just didn’t expect the winter to be so long.