We were not meant to be alone...
Last week, Oprah showed a clip of an earlier interview with George Clooney during which she told him that she thought he was dreamy. She followed that statement with a question: "When you are dating someone, do you do dreamy things?" His response: "I would suggest that I don't. I am 44 years old and single, so the dreamy part must be falling through the cracks." Oprah and her audience laughed at his response. I did not.
There he sat, one of the most eligible bachelors in the world: wealthy, handsome, intelligent, interesting, well-spoken, with all the advantages that money, fame, and looks can afford. Alone. As far as the public knows, he has never had a serious, long-term relationship, no children that he admits to, and no one to share his many homes, cars, and life experiences with. At least, not at the moment. His good buddies, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, are currently involved in serious relationships and for the most part, always have been.
After receiving his Oscar on Sunday night, he was interviewed by Oprah's friend, Gayle King, and he told her that he'd be meeting up with friends later in the evening. "They will all be there with their wives, and I will arrive carrying my Oscar. Won't that be amazing?" Yes, George, it will be amazing. They will be with their wives, and you will be with your statue of gold. But with whom will you share the personal, the private, the most intimate details of what it felt like to stand on that podium and give that eloquent acceptance speech? Who will hold you close, cry tears of joy with you, and wake up with you in the morning, after the alcohol and excitement wear off?
We all wonder, don't we? Why isn't George married? We look at our friends who are single and unattached, and we wonder: why doesn't that person have a partner? I admit that I wonder what it would take for some of my single friends to find someone with whom to share their lives. Even the most independent people I know, the die-hard solo travelers, the ones who refuse to merge bank accounts, the ones for whom the words "compromise" and "submission" are the filthiest in the English language - they are all happier when they are in love, when they are in "the mergers and acquisitions" phase of their romantic lives. We are not meant to be alone.
I'm not suggesting that it is impossible to be whole and complete without a life partner. I firmly believe that in order to be joined to someone else in holy matrimony, in life partnership, we must understand that our completeness will not be provided by the other person. I am strengthened, supported, encouraged, enhanced by my union with Steve, but not made whole by him. I do not mean to suggest that everyone ought to be married. One of my best friends in the world is a Jesuit priest; no marriage in the future for him. He loves his work, his Jesuit brothers, and has dedicated his life to serving God as a single man. I know many single men and women who are enormously happy with their lives.
On the other hand, perhaps there is some truth to the idea that having a partner brings us closer to completion, to wholeness. After all, the Bible says that it's not good for man (or woman) to be alone. And, on some level, we all know how true that is. We may not need a spouse or children of our, but we all need someone close. A bosom buddy. The shoulder to cry on. The friend to call on. The hand to hold in times of loneliness and sorrow. The one who will guide us through the times of darkness in our lives. The prospect of raising these children alone, of making my way through the world as a single mother, as a solo act is not an appealing one to me, not in the least. Marriage is not the answer for everyone, but loneliness isn't the answer for anyone. Solitude, yes. Loneliness, no.
Truly, there is something dreamy about the idea of traveling this journey called life in the company of someone special, someone I love and who loves me. There is something nightmarish about rolling over in bed and finding no shoulder either to snuggle up against after I've had a bad dream or to poke when Maya barks for her early morning walk.
My hope for the dreamy George Clooney is that he will soon find someone with whom he can share himself until death do they part. My hope for the recently divorced Meg Ryan is the same. As I watched the Oscars, I thought of the many presenters and recipients who have recently been separated and/or divorced from their spouses and significant others. I thought of all those who will soon follow in their footsteps. I wondered who they cry with, who wipes their tears, and who picks them up off their marble floors, sits them at their granite countertops, pours them coffee, and encourages them to march on in this not-so-dreamy life. So many of them "have it all," but in the words of the Old King James Version, "have not love."
If you will allow me to paraphrase, I will write my personal interpretation of I Corinthians 13:1-3.
"If I speak with the tongues of of men, women, and angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of acting, singing, cooking, dancing, or crunching numbers, and can fathom all recipes, equations, and profit statements,
If I have enough wealth and influence to move mountains, build mansions where they once stood, and hire the staff to maintain it all,
But have not love, I am nothing.
If I give millions to house the homeless, feed the hungry, and hospitalize the sick, and surrender my time, money, and energy to great causes all around the world,
But have not love, I gain nothing."
"Dear friends," John wrote centuries ago, "let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God... This is how God showed His love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him... Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."
All you need is Love.
All I need is Love.
We were not meant to be alone, so let us love one another.