Loneliness is not just being alone

December 17, 2017

Loneliness has nothing to do with being alone....


I believe that we all experience loneliness at times. Perhaps your loneliness is brief and only comes on rare occasions. Mine comes and goes depending on my day. As strange as it may sound, a person can be lonely in a crowded room. I have experienced it on occasions.


Only a couple of nights ago, Eric played a nice show for a great group of people at a private party downtown; in a barbecue restaurant. It was a large room and I stayed in the unmanned sound booth. I controlled the volume and clarity of the lines for the guitar and microphone…which took very little effort as they were preset by Eric before the show began.


There was a time or two when the volume had to be adjusted up and down, so I took care of that. I guess this means I was the “sound man” for the show! One time years ago someone thought they recognized me as the sound engineer for  “The Grateful Dead”. Of course I denied it but he insisted it was me and I was only being modest about my fabulous abilities in running sound. To this day when I see this person, he still insists on introducing me as the person who ran sound for that popular band. I shake my head, smile and let it pass. If you hear this outlandish claim about my abilities, please disregard. It is just an unfortunate resemblance I suppose.


When the show ended and we headed out, Eric said he needed to stop by for a minute to see a dear friend who was having her birthday celebration nearby. It was only a few blocks away, so off we went. My feet were hurting from standing 3 hours in that sound booth, so when we arrived at the place, I told Eric I would rather sit in the car and play word games on my iphone while he went in to this popular music venue/bar downtown. He said “I will only be about 20 minutes mom, call me if you have any problems.”


As I sat there, I noticed a family who approached their car near the back entrance of the Saenger Theater. It looked to be a mom, dad and son who was maybe 16 or 17 years old. The son carried a violin in its case and he was dressed in a tux. The parents were also dressed in their Sunday best. I reckoned there had been a symphony (probably student symphony). Both of my sons played violin in the student symphony many years ago and it brought a smile to my face as I remembered their performances with pride. My head was filled with wonderful memories.


As they loaded up and pulled off into the distance, a new person caught my eye. It was a brief moment of time and I don’t think he ever noticed me noticing him. But I won’t soon forget this man.


He has popped into my thoughts many times since that night. Once the family left I had resumed playing a word game on my iPhone, I noticed someone and looked up to see a man searching the 4 large trash cans that sat nearby, on the curb. When he got to the last one he pulled out a “to go box” that potentially contained food. He searched eagerly but found nothing. I had a nice BBQ meal on my back seat that I was bringing home to Leon. I thought of the meal just as he turned and walked off. This man had the look of extreme hunger; he was so thin, gaunt and so hollow. My impulse was to jump out and grab the meal from the backseat and chase him to give it to him. But then I felt unsafe, not knowing what mental state he might be in and at that moment I was alone. His thin body, his ragged, dirty clothes and the desperate hunger that screamed out from his soul, still haunts me. Tears run down my face when I think of him.


In this world there is excitement, happiness and joy. There is also deep sadness, deprivation and loneliness. Those worlds collided that night.  


Seeing this man and his circumstances, briefly pulled me to his world, to his sadness, his deprivation and chilling loneliness. I wept for him and I also wept for me. 


To pull myself from the darkness of that moment, I turned on my music and found the words I needed from my dear friend Kristy Lee, she sang "Let there be peace down in your soul for the things of this world we can't control"..... I love my musician friends so much.


Juanita Smith

Music Mom



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