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Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Lonely Man

There was once a man who lived alone in the countryside.  He did not have many neighbors and the friends he used to have either moved away, moved along in life, or moved into the next life.  He was truly a solitary man that, though lonely, had resolved his life would just be lived out in isolation now.

One day, there was a knock at the door.

It was a gentlemen who explained that the man's brother was calling on him for a visit.

"My brother?" the man said.  "I haven't seen my brother in 20 years!"

The gentlemen convinced him, though, that it would be good for the man to take the trip out to see him.

So, with some reservation in leaving his isolated house, he packed his bags and started his journey.  He did not own a car, so he had to first take the bus, then the train, and then a taxi into the city where his brother lived.

The bus ride was crowded and noisy.  The only place he could sit was next to an older lady who was reading the newspaper. She was a friendly little lady and stopped reading as soon as the man sat down.  For the next 45 minutes, she talked and talked about everything and anything.  By the end of the trip, he felt as if he had known her his whole life.  How pleasant and surprising it was for him to befriend someone so quickly.

The train ride was quieter and he sat down next to a young man who was travelling back from a business trip.  The young man had less to say than the older lady but was cordial enough to make small talk.  In their question and answer conversation, they found out that they had relatives that lived in the same city and the young man's children attended the same elementary school that the man used to attend.  Surprised by this 'small world' coincidence, the men continued to talk and relate to each other the entire rest of the train ride.  The man was surprised and thrilled once again that he had made another acquaintance!

When the man left the train, he went in search of a taxi cab.  As he waited for it to arrive, a young woman walked past and unknowingly dropped her wallet.  The man was quick to react and ran after the woman to give it to her.  How thankful she was to the honest stranger!  She insisted that she buy him a cup of coffee in return for his kindness.  So, the man and the woman enjoyed a long conversation together over coffee and danishes.  He was very much taken by her beauty and personality.  By the end of their conversation, he found the courage to ask if they could exchange contact information.  She was delighted that he asked and was eager to see him again.

When the man finally made it to his brother's house, he was filled was joy and happiness.  When his brother saw him he was surprised at the man's countenance.

"Brother!  I did not expect to see you so happy.  I had heard that you were all alone and very lonely -- the very reason for my invite.  But, you do not seem unhappy at all!"

"My dear brother!" the man said, "I was lonely.  I was unhappy.  But, in my journey to see you, I made a friend on both the bus and the train and was surprised and encouraged to see how easy it was to make acquaintances.  And, before my taxi ride, I met the most beautiful woman -- who I think I have just fallin' in love with and might even be my future wife! 

My hope has been renewed!  I thought for sure that I would be lonely and isolated my whole life.  And, maybe I would have been --

if I had not taken the first step to journey out of my lonely place."



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