The Jesus of Silver Spring

In my novel The Island of Always, Lena (my protagonist) compares her ex-husband to Jesus—in that he loves everyone, just no one in particular (meaning her).

I was thinking about that today as a friend and I were exchanging emails on the subject of being alone later in life (I'm 63, and have been alone or on my own or however you want to put it for some years). My friend and I both agreed that writing (which is what we do, or at least how we think of ourselves) plays a part in that, both as a prerequisite, solitude being implicit in the writing life, and as a proxy, providing the joy and meaning that might otherwise come from companionship. 

Then I thought about Lena's line, and it occurred to me that there might be another alternative: compassion. Or perhaps the more personal counterpart: kindness. Maybe being kind to others, not just to other people, but to all the life around you, generates in you some of the same well-being that love might. It’s more spread out, certainly, easier to miss, no doubt. But maybe in aggregation enough to keep the heart alive. 

Perhaps in the end it all comes down to endorphins and complex neurochemical reactions. Or maybe there is a higher accounting, a karma to be built. But I wonder if the choice to engage with your little patch of the world in this way, each day, to smile at a neighbor, give a treat to a dog, or leave bread out for the birds and squirrels, can sustain the heart through the solitary years ahead. 

I hope so.

Hearts are important. 

 

Comments 4

 
Rosy Cole on Thursday, 31 January 2019 19:08

Steve, thank you for these lovely thoughts which strike the reader as a kind of awakening. My response has run to a blog post!
https://www.gr8word.com/index.php/entry/changing-the-shape-of-the-universe

Steve, thank you for these lovely thoughts which strike the reader as a kind of awakening. My response has run to a blog post! https://www.gr8word.com/index.php/entry/changing-the-shape-of-the-universe
Stephen Evans on Thursday, 31 January 2019 22:28

Always glad to inspire the inspiring. :)

Always glad to inspire the inspiring. :)
Katherine Gregor on Sunday, 03 February 2019 17:36

I was forty-nine when I met my second husband. He was sixty-four. Who would have thought it?

Kindness – true kindness – is a thing of underrated beauty.

I was forty-nine when I met my second husband. He was sixty-four. Who would have thought it? Kindness – true kindness – is a thing of underrated beauty.
Monika Schott on Monday, 04 February 2019 03:34

Being truly kind is a wonderful quality that in our materialistic world, can be lost. It's humbling to give, and even more humbling to receive it.

Being truly kind is a wonderful quality that in our materialistic world, can be lost. It's humbling to give, and even more humbling to receive it.
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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

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Latest Comments

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I came across this in one of Jan Karon's Mitford books, so I can't say I really stuck with Coleridge...
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Hallelujah! Coleridge's thoughts (and yours!) are so much clearer than Emerson's who has a habit of ...
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Thank you so much, Katia. It's helpful to know you found it so. The passage is from Entertaining Ang...
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Wonderfully thought-provoking.
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Thank you, Ken. I am so glad you enjoyed it.

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