only your ear hears the loneliness of loving

listening and pondering
Fiona as a Toddler

All you who love know the loneliness of loving. All we who love, know.

We lovers hear uniquely and distinctly the soul-shattering sound of the loneliness of loving. It’s a sound we can’t escape hearing when we choose to love. It’s a sound we can’t communicate to others.

And those of us fortunate enough to know love early in life hear the sound longer.

Fiona was just past two years old when she expressed the loneliness of loving to her mother who had just returned from a week-long conference. Immediately as she heard her mother call Fiona she dropped the paper cup she was filling from the water cooler, turned, and toddled with all her might across the playground toward her mother’s voice. Once in sight of her mother she stretched out her arms to be picked up and enfolded in her mother’s arms.

Fiona clasped her mother’s neck and pulled her mother’s head tight against her own. Then, almost in the same instant, she lifted her head so her face was directly in front of her mother’s face. With tears on her cheeks and as loud a voice as her sobs allowed, she announced: I was looking for you, I was looking for you. Then she lowered her head and nestled down into the crook of her mother’s neck. And clung!

Fiona was telling her mother about her loneliness of loving. She was telling that she had missed her mother’s presence. However, at just past two years old, without abstract reasoning, Fiona had no vocabulary for her emotional experience of missing her mother. Instead, she had a concrete experience and behavior of looking for her mother. She had done a lot of looking for her mother during the week.

When her mother actually appeared to Fiona concretely, in a manner to which she could touch and cling, Fiona thought and spoke the most accurate way she could to indicate her total experience. Her statement probably contained emotions related to not finding her mother when she had looked for her many times, and even emotions involved in her mother’s concrete presence that day. I was looking for you held them all.

There’s no doubt that Fiona’s mother felt the love Fiona expressed as she spoke, and cried, and clung. But only Fiona knew the organic loneliness her words, her tears, and her clinging contained.

Only Fiona’s ear could hear the soul-shattering loneliness of her loving.