Thursday, December 26, 2013

Not alone

Frasier is probably my favourite sitcom of all time, and Niles is probably the character who most entertains me. One of my favourite bits of dialogue comes from Niles shortly after his separation from the always-absent-yet-hilariously-present Maris. Daphne asks if he gets lonely. "Oh", he replies with an air of nonchalance, "only sometimes when I'm by myself." And then he adds, with something a bit more like despair, "And other times when I'm with other people". Deep loneliness seems to me to be an inherent part of the human condition, here to the east of Eden. To be lonely by oneself, to be unhappy with one's own company; to be lonely with others, to wonder privately whether any of them really 'get' you.

If God had not come to us, as one of us (really one of us!) and yet not one of us, how lonely we would be! None of us is able, really and truly, to affirm the existence of another. Without the Good God drawing alongside, what would we be, ultimately, but little monads, trying to act as if the other were enough for me, as if my reflection in that person were sufficient.

Emmanuel. With us, really with us.

Not alone, never alone again.

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