Bonhoeffer, sensing death was close imprisoned as he was by the Nazis, knew this truth of loneliness. Yet in this poem he articulates its redemptive power, the last lines ones of hope and triumph of faith...

Who Am I? by Deitrich Bonhoeffer

"Who am I? They often tell me

I stepped from my cells confinement

Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,

Like a Squire from his country house.

Who am I? They often tell me

I used to speak to my warders

Freely and friendly and clearly,

As thought it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me

I bore the days of misfortune

Equably, smilingly, proudly,

like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really that which other men tell of?

Or am I only what I myself know of myself?

Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,

Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,

Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,

Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,

Tossing in expectations of great events,

Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,

Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,

Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all.

Who am I? This or the Other?

Am I one person today and tomorrow another?

Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,

And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?

Or is something within me still like a beaten army

Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.

Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!"

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It's about time someone wrote about singleness and debunked the lie that marriage is the answer to loneliness and that we are not complete unless we are married. Maybe you would be so kind as to write about marriage being an idol in the church today and a way of avoiding the uncomfortable teaching of how to live a celibate life.

Thank you, for sharing the truth. It's hard to find these days. 🙏👏👏

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Apparently some people don’t have an inner monologue… pretty frightening… all those lonely walks would be far worse without it

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Wonderful article, I appreciate this perspective. Friendship matters greatly!

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Thank you. Eric Klinenberg has a new book out, “2020”, wherein he talks (in reference to our “COVID” years) about “loneliness” versus that lack of connectedness to talk about. Both of you touched me- at a heart level.

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Hi Scott from the UK...thanjks for liking my' epiphany'. Briefly scanned your work...kingdom work indded in this lost and lonely world. Glory to God :)

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I think it’s helpful to see that while Adam and Eve represent male and female, they are also a picture of humanity, all of us. It seems like Christians often get stuck looking at this passage through marital lenses which can then create other lopsided views of other scriptures. And as you have said, the companionship of other humans is important because my dog may help relieve some sense of loneliness, but he is not going to help me keep Torah or the beatitudes, or tell me I have spinach stuck in my teeth, or celebrate my accomplishments with me, or help comfort me in my losses.

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'Whenever you feel lonely, you must try to find the source of this feeling...This is an important search because it leads you to discern something good about yourself. The pain of your loneliness may be rooted in your deepest vocation...Thus your loneliness may be revealed to you as the other side of your unique gift. Once you can experience in your innermost being the truth of this, you may find your loneliness not only tolerable but even fruitful.'

Henri Nouwen

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This: “We experience loneliness not because there is something wrong with us, but because there is something right with us.” Yes. Yes. Yes. The loneliness is trying to point us Homeward. I appreciate this reminder.

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Feb 18Liked by Scott Sauls

Sharing on meta and LinkedIn!

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Feb 18Liked by Scott Sauls

At the risk of appearing lonely, I appreciate your writing this morning.

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