Solitary Sun

Rising Sun (2)
Solitude and loneliness are not the same thing.  Solitude is more like the sun.  Afire and at peace in its otherwise dark corner of the universe, content to glow brightly whether or not anyone notices.  Loneliness, on the other hand, necessitates a greater sense of self-absorption.   It would be as if that same sun were fixated only on its own finite supply of fuel.  “Alas, I do not know why God saw fit to hurl me into this desolate wasteland of space, but such is my lot in life:  to give light away to a slew of ungrateful planets until I at last burn myself out and collapse into nothing.”

The notion of a disheartened sun seems counter-intuitive.  One would think being a ball of fire means feeling like one.  The truth is, however, it is nearly impossible to distinguish between solitude and loneliness from the outside.  The same sun that appears bright and inexhaustible one day, might very well be feeling sullen and overcast the next.  The difference is internal and elusive.  No one intentionally chooses to despair interludes of isolation.  We all want to think ourselves delighted and content with our own company.  And sometimes we are.  Just not always.

I guess because I am acutely aware of how I am forever oscillating between peace and panic, I try to remain open to the possibility that others are experiencing similar fluctuations.  There is, I believe, a great deal of perceived defeat masquerading as fiery self-confidence.  So I do what I can.  I try to be deliberate about talking to strangers.  Simple words.  Words like “hello” and “thank you.”  I am not so foolish as to imagine my efforts are forever altering history, but I am convinced thoughtfulness can’t hurt anyone and just might do someone a whole lot of good.

I can only speak for myself, but I know I experience unsolicited expressions of kindness as affirmations of my existence.  One casual smile from a stranger, and I’m suddenly (almost) certain the world would be a darker place without me.  Now, I have no way of knowing if anyone else on the planet feels the same way, but just in case, I choose to err on the side of cheerful chatter and spontaneous smiles.  After all, solitude and loneliness look too much alike for me to carelessly assume the sun rises each day in confidence.


8 thoughts on “Solitary Sun

  1. I used to be very lonely, even in a crowd. I finally understand the concept of solitude. I enjoy quiet time alone. This is a big change.

    I agree that a simple smile or kind word can change everything. I try hard to be that person now. The one who brightens a room. Maybe someone else needs that little boost. I like to think I can give it away.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Often times I feel very alone, even while in the company of loved ones. I’ve always felt that way, so I’m not sure if it’s normal for me or it’s just a byproduct of trauma? I’m doing my best to work on it though. Little by little!
    I truly enjoy when a stranger smiles at me or says hello so I make an effort to do the same. Sometimes even just a little nod of the head from someone makes my day better.
    Offering you a big smile today 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your post made me think of this poem by Emily Dickinson, which I love.

    They might not need me—yet they might—
    I’ll let my Heart be just in sight—
    A smile so small as mine might be
    Precisely their necessity—


    Liked by 3 people

  4. I think smiling is a fun way to connect with people. It brightens my day to watch someone’s face change from looking inward to opening up and smiling back when I smile at them.


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