Two Violinists and a Platform of Lonely People

DSCN4615If your eyes swept the platform we all looked basically the same. Oh we were all different sizes, colors, shapes; you could tell basically who was rich and who wasn’t  so rich. But our expressions? They hardly differed.

We all looked resigned.

No one smiled.

Everyone looked lost in their own worlds.

We were a platform of lonely people.

Ironically it was at that moment that two violinists set up their personal concert hall on a dirty subway platform and began playing a duet of the famous Beatles song “All the Lonely People”.

It was perfect really. The playing was stellar, the song completely capturing this platform of lonely looking people. We, the lonely, were being treated to a world-class concert and we didn’t even know it.

I wondered if anyone else saw the irony, experienced the connection between the song and the people, the melody and the faces.

That’s the thing in the city. Loneliness can’t be hidden behind beautiful clothes and houses; it’s not masked but right out there in full view. And there are times when it feels depressing, overwhelming. When there seem to be no answers to never-ending loneliness and the bleak face of a city in winter.

Worst of all is when I feel I’m a part of it – I’m one more lonely person; one more sad face in the never-ending crowds of humanity that move through the city system.

It’s times like this when I have to know there is more, have to make sure there is a human connection in my world of lonely. I find it through the homeless, Sheryl, Geoff, others who I’m slowly learning to know; through Bashkin, the fruit man – leaving for Albania to wait out the winter; through Winston, the door man at the Parker House who leaves for Haiti tomorrow; through the personal connection with a bus friend and bus driver.

It may not seem like much but it somehow helps to know faces, personalities, and a fraction of the circumstances of these – so I know where the lonely come from. So I know the lonely have a name.

10 thoughts on “Two Violinists and a Platform of Lonely People

  1. First off I would like to say terrific blog!

    I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing. I’ve had trouble clearing
    my mind in getting my ideas out. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted just trying to figure out
    how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Cheers!


  2. Oh touche! Wow – your last line “only we couldn’t because it was a tv set somewhere in the heart of Hollywood mocking our longings to be known….” SO.True. It begs me to look at other areas where Hollywood may be mocking me from my family room. Wow.


  3. If you want to feel lonely, you should try a Moscow subway. Man, if looks could kill… I find Boston subways quite amicable by comparison actually. And that anonymity of city life can cut both ways. Sometimes it is helpful for people to know you and sometimes not.


    1. My brother and sister-in-law have lived in Kazakhstan for a long time and they also say that Boston subways are friendlier! My cousin lives in Moscow and says that taking the subway is like “being birthed” every day. On anonymity – I agree with that. There’s an interesting community within anonymity that I find in the city – if that makes sense.


  4. This is a very timely and interesting post. I was at a youth leaders summit this past weekend, and several ministry wives approached me to discuss their overwhelming loneliness. In the church – filled with people – the leaders’ wives are lonely. Your post pointed out something GRAND, though. You have to take the step to remedy the loneliness that you feel, and – in doing so – you remedy that of others. Beautiful


    1. Thanks Stacy – this is so interesting. Perhaps we are lonelier in churches because our expectations are higher – people are “supposed” to reach out, extend God’s love, etc….if they don’t then we sink into our selves and a little bit dies – but really they are looking for us to reach over our selves and so it gets into a vicious cycle? I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this.


      1. I would agree with that for the “average” church goer; however, there is an additional layer for the pastor’s wife (spouse) and even for the pastor. There is the fine line between sharing and sharing too much or even friendship vs ministry. I’m everyone’s “friend” … right? :)


  5. Thanks Marilyn, for this reminder to really SEE the people I pass each day – the people in the checkout line, the weary clerk behind the counter, people in the Doctor’s office waiting room. Too often I’m feeling impatient at having to wait,or at the clerk’s mistake – “The sign said ‘buy one, get one free’ but you’re charging me…” How I need that fruit of the Holy Spirit named PATIENCE, and His grace to see those people with God’s eyes, to really look at them and just be nice!


    1. It’s so hard to be patient – especially when I feel like my impatience will be seen by no one. Yet it affects deeply those we come into contact with. And to view the world through the lens of God is challenge indeed. Impossible without his grace.


  6. That’s what made the TV show, Cheers, so popular for so long. It was a pub in the heart of a city…a place “where everybody knows your name”. It’s what the lonely long for….to be known. We could all pop in at Cheers and be known…only we couldn’t because it was a tv set somewhere in the heart of Hollywood mocking our longings to be known….


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