Can A Popular Person Be Lonely?

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge today is POPULAR

This brings to mind a conversation I had twenty-some years ago: three other women and myself were having coffee together and in the course of conversation I mentioned that I was never part of the “in-crowd.” One by one all three of my friends responded with, “I never was, either.”

This was a shocker. I always was an odd kid, raised apart from my birth family, ridiculed by my foster dad and made fun of by my peers. I became a loner — but surely these three were exactly the types to be leading an in-crowd!

Lise, a French-Canadian nurse, wife of the town vet and mom to three, was as lively and friendly as they come. Same with Diane, also a nurse, the wife of a school teacher and mother of a son and twin girls. They could visit with anybody. Ruth, the United Church Minister’s wife, university-educated, outgoing, cheerful, also sharing her thoughts freely. I loved visiting with each of them and could imagine they’d have been the most popular girls in any school.

If these girls weren’t part of “the in-crowd,” who was?

Take comfort, those of you who aren’t so popular at school. Teens who are not part of the in-crowd can still become friendly, moxie people with active minds, maybe even more caring and sharing than those who agonize about fitting in.

Yesterday Pastor J S Park posted a great article: “LONELINESS, The Unnamed Pain.” He’s given me permission to reblog it, but for some reason that isn’t working as it should, so I’ll copy and paste. If you struggle with loneliness this is a must-read. And he says yes, you can be lonely surrounded by other people.

LET’S TALK ABOUT LONELINESS”

I’m not a therapist or doctor, but as a hospital chaplain, I’ve seen the terrible and awful effects of loneliness on mental health. The problem is that it’s tough to admit, almost embarrassing to say, “I’m hurting from loneliness.”

Loneliness is a double-bind in that in order to find comfort, it requires reaching out to people or for people to be near. But some of us have been alone so long, it’s unthinkable that we can connect with another human without risking rejection—which fuels more loneliness.

“WHY DON’T YOU JUST MAKE FRIENDS?”

The unhelpful reply I hear to “I’m lonely” is “Why don’t you just make friends?” But that’s like saying, “Why don’t you just get rich?” or “Why can’t you just go to the gym?” We’re already in deficit, a lap behind, because we fear connection in proportion to how alone we feel.

It’s difficult to make friends and keep them. It’s hard to have real friendships that are not just functional transactions. Even when someone is surrounded by crowds or well connected, they may be the loneliest people on earth, because all their “friends” are transactional.

“THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS IS COURAGE”

I don’t know the answer to loneliness. But I know what the answer is not: We can’t just snap out of it. We can’t just cure it with a party, a bar, a church, a dating app. It requires intentional investment and yes, the risk of rejection. The opposite of loneliness is courage. It takes courage to reach out, to enter each other’s orbit, to risk trust, and to be alone in our thoughts and fears.

Friends, this week may be lonely. This season can be brutal. They can remind you of all that’s missing. As trite as it sounds: You may feel lonely, but you are not alone. May you find the courage to reach out, to enter the possibilities of love in all its heaven and heartache.

Flourish.plainer
Many thanks to Pastor Park for allowing me to share his encouraging article.

 

Fresh White World

“White, White, My World is White…”

Fandango’s one-word challenge: BECAUSE

Our world looks so different this morning because we’ve had a night of pure, fluffy snow.

Ragtag Daily Prompt : WINTER

After a week of spring-like weather, with temperatures descending for the last couple of days, Winter has returned to our land in all its glory. If it were sunny today, we could almost go snow-blind; instead, the sky is almost as white as the blanket of snow.

Your Daily Word prompt: OPTIMUM

Snowfalls like this afford our son-in-law some optimum earning opportunities. He has some contracts for clearing snow, so I imagine he’ll have risen early this morning and gotten his snow-removal equipment on the road.

Word of the Day prompt: RADICAL

When I got up this morning, instead of having my first cup of coffee and keeping warm inside, I responded radically: I threw on my housecoat and went out to sweep off the decks and stairs. You see, we have two cats that are eager to go outside and look around first thing every morning and they need a snow-free place to sit. Guess you could call me a super-indulgent pet owner.

Speaking of radical, have you noticed the drastic change in my blog header and background? The world was white before I signed off last night, plus US Thanksgiving is officially over, so I changed — seasonalized, if that’s a word — the appearance of my blog. What do you think of my new look?

And when I saw the various prompt words this morning, I decided that they’d all fit in a prompt about our weather, except…

Your Daily Word Prompt: WREN

There are NO wrens anywhere in this land. Every wren with a brain in his tiny little skull will be passing the next five months in some sunny clime, along with almost every other small nesting bird that spends summer here. We’re stuck with the dull English sparrows and the magpies, whose bold black & white doesn’t do much to cheer up our landscape. Maybe several blue jays will come back again this winter?

Blue Jay.cropped.jpg
Pixabay

Now I shall take optimum advantage of this winter morning by addressing some Christmas cards because that season is almost upon us. This will be a radical departure from my usual Dec 20th mailing. 🙂

I hope you’re all enjoying your day, whatever your weather.

Writing Prompts

Good morning everyone! Lovely sunshine today…when I’d rather see rain. How’s that for perversity? But we did get a sprinkle yesterday and it froze last night, so there’s front on the grass this morning.

The cats have already gone in and out, in and out, in and out. A very short train has just chugged by on the track not far from our yard, headed south with a dozen or so empty gravel-hauling cars. I’m not sure where the gravel comes from, but they use it to build and maintain track north of us.

I learned a few things about my writing, and about you, dear readers, when I did a search for my most popular blog posts two days ago. One of the rules of the Mystery Blogger Award as to list your ten most popular posts and I discovered that my MOST-VIEWED post of all time was this one:
WRITING PROMPT SOURCES

I wrote this shortly after WordPress discontinued their Daily Prompt. Since I was never very devoted to following the Daily Prompt, I haven’t really missed it, plus other sites have stepped in to fill the gap. So I think it’s time I update my data, for those who are interested in writing prompts.

If you’re looking for a daily prompt WORD, check out the following:
RAGTAG Community
Word of the Day
Fandango’s FOWC
Your Daily Word Prompt

The following sites offer a weekly photo prompt, and would welcome new contributors:
What Pegman Saw
What Do You See
Friday Fictioneers
Crispina’s Crimson Challenge

The 50 Word Thursdays prompt, cohosted by Kristian and the Haunted Wordsmith, offers both a photo and a line you’re supposed to use somewhere in your story, plus the story is to be written in multiples of 50 words.

And  Sammi Cox offers a weekend writing prompt. She gives participants a WORD, plus a specific word-limit. This week it’s 77; last week it was 47.

I’m sure there are more but I think I’ve put enough links in this post. If you’re looking for ideas and topics, the sites I’ve listed could keep you writing all week long. 🙂

Tempted but Resolved

Fandango’s One-word Challenge this morning: TEMPTATION

Merriam-Webster says: tempt implies the presenting of an attraction so strong that it overcomes the restraints of conscience or better judgment.

This word automatically brings to mind the Bible verse:
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” — James 4:7

You don’t have to be a Bible scholar to understand that thought. Should some temptation sidle up beside you, if you turn your face resolutely and head in the opposite direction, you will much more easily overcome the thing than if you look its way — even if you’re arguing with it.

In another sense, temptation is like that proverbial rat the dog played with, then buried, but he left the tail hanging out “just in case.”

Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of temptation:
the desire to do something, especially something wrong or unwise.

We do occasionally use the word TEMPTATION in the less menacing sense. We feel a desire to do something, though there’s some question involved. As we face the New Year, the clean page, the sense of starting-over, a lot of us are tempted to make New Year’s Resolutions. I have.

Is this wise? Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Do you keep them? Would you advise a friend to make one, or to abandon the idea?

To be on the safe side, my resolutions are a January-only thing. I’m hoping once started I’ll develop enough momentum to carry them on from there. But for the month of January I’m resolved to:
—spend more time in the quest for physical fitness. (Read: diet and exercise!)
My arthritis is getting me down and I’m resolved to start fighting back
—deal with sewing projects that have lingered in the spare room closet too long
—post a haiku a day on my other blog, Tree Top Haiku

O-E-D defines RESOLVED as firmly determined to do something.

As I understand it, the success of a New Year’s resolution depends very little on the project contemplated, and almost entirely on the resolve of the individual. I know from past experience that the temptation to do something else will certainly come along and crook an inviting finger, just to test the strength of my resolve.

Which reminds me of a quote I just read yesterday:  🙂

Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.

—Robert Benchley

Wars, Words and Testy Judges

Back in the mists of ancient history a Norman army from France crossed the English Channel and battled the Anglo kings at Hastings.

Back then the Brits lacked a BBC and a Winston Churchill to rally the troops with:
“We’ll fight them at sea and we’ll fight them on land; we’ll fight them in the fields and we’ll fight them in the ditches…etc. We will never surrender.” In those days of poor communications one doubts there was any kind of significant country-wide clarion call of “Rally the troops!

Consequently the Normans took control of England. Lacking a successful counter attack and rout by the inhabitants, they claimed everything, grabbed all the castles, fortresses and whatever other good stuff they spied— as invaders are wont to do. They settled down to enjoy the spoils and make the Anglo-Saxons work for them.

They brought with them many weapons of war — and their language. There began at this point a steady trickle of French into the Saxonized English of the day:
“Non, non, stupide anglaise chef! Quelle offence! Such ignorance. This is NOT a spitted cow. This is a roti de BOEUF. And this is NOT pig. Non, non, this is PORC. We do not have zee PIG to feed us at our table!”

The phlegmatic cook, having sprung from an old English “Farmer in the dell” lineage, hadn’t adopted the Saxon swine yet — which was just as well. She didn’t do so well with roti de boeuf, either, and slurred it to roast beef. She was pleased, though, to be elevated from cook to chef. (Wouldn’t you be?)

Fast forward almost a millennium, to where a Yank calling himself Fandango gives us the word prompt: PENDING.

Thus today we’re prompt-writing about this word, originally forced onto the French by the Roman conquerors of Gaul, then delivered via the sword and the trickle to the Brits. As Norman rule was suspendu over Britain, this word slowly wormed its way into the emerging English language. By now it’s established itself in oodles of English subdivisions — much like Norman DNA in general. And from there it’s crossed the Atlantic.

Definitions given by my Collins Canadian Dictionary, First Edition:

Pending:
– while waiting for
– not yet decided or settled
– imminent

Impending:
something (esp something bad) about to happen

Suspend:
– hang (something) from a high place
– cause something to remain floating or hanging
– cause to stop temporarily
– to remove (someone) temporarily from a job or position, usually as a punishment

Depend:
– to put trust in; rely on
– to be influenced or determined (by)
– to rely (on) for income

Expend:
– to spend or use up (something)

Real Life Uses:

Judge Smith was motoring sedately along the highway, expending serious thought on the impending decision over custody of the Watkins’ dog. Considering the vicious ongoing battle for ownership, she’d suspended all visiting rights pending a dog psychologist’s report on the dog’s behaviour in the presence of its master and its mistress.

Little did Judge Smith know that Sam Slatter had expended a lot of energy intoxicating himself on a suspension of fermented barley and hops, and was heading toward a STOP sign to her left.

The county had suspended a flashing red light above the intersection to doubly warn motorists that they MUST, MUST come to a complete stop at the white line. How well Sam perceived this sign and/or light was dependent on how clear his vision was. And it wasn’t. Sad to say, his befuddled brain’s reaction time was as impaired as the rest of him.

The impending arrival of Sam’s vehicle was not noticed by the judge, distracted as her thoughts were. She only caught a glimpse of the oncoming vehicle on her left periphery and the question flashed through her mind, “Will it stop?”

Sam made a brave attempt to brake when the Judge’s vehicle swept in front of him, but the momentum of his vehicle couldn’t be checked. There was a dull crunch as he clipped the tail lights and rear fender of the Judge’s car.

Several days later Sam’s fog had mercilessly left him to his fate. Worse, he could see clearly now that the person whose car he had damaged was sitting in the judgement seat above him. What could he say? What could he do but sniffle as his license was suspended indefinitely, pending a police report on his past behaviour behind the wheel.

The Watkins’ case came up next. Worse luck for them, Judge Smith was in no mood to be patient. The dog was awarded to the husband’s aged uncle and all visiting rights were denied.

Differing Opinions

Fandango’s challenge word this morning is CONTRAST

I offer this poem as my response:

THE DOCTOR
by Edgar Guest

I don’t see why Pa likes him so,
and seems so glad to have him come;
he jabs my ribs and wants to know
if here and there it’s hurting some.

He holds my wrist, ‘cause there are things
in there which always jump and jerk;
then, with a telephone he brings,
he listens to my breather work.

He taps my back and pinches me,
then hangs a mirror on his head
and looks into my throat to see
what makes it hurt and if it’s red.

Then on his knee he starts to write
and says to Mother, with a smile:
“This ought to fix him up all right.
We’ll cure him in a little while.”

I don’t see why Pa likes him so.
Whenever I don’t want to play
he says, “The boy is sick, I know!
Let’s get the doctor right away.”

And when he comes, Pa shakes his hand,
and hustles him upstairs to me,
and seems contented just to stand
inside the room where he can see.

Then Pa says every time he goes,
“That’s money I am glad to pay;
it’s worth it, when a fellow knows
his pal will soon be up to play.”

But maybe if my Pa were me,
and had to take his pills and all,
he wouldn’t be so glad to see
the doctor come to make a call.

From the book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co