Friday Night and All Alone


“Alone or by yourself?”

The worst night of week.  After a week’s worth of work I deserve a night off and out.  Didn’t happen.  Many Friday nights, I was convinced that everyone in the world was having more fun that I presently was having.

Is there a difference between being “alone” and “by yourself?”  Yes.  If you’re alone than other people  are not with you; however to be by yourself means that you are content.  How old must you be to stop waiting for the phone to ring or the letter to arrive?  “Being alone” (how many sad, sappy songs are written about this stage?)  “By yourself?”  Not one song that I can think of.  Why?  Because we love to project ourselves into crowds, no matter our personality.

There’s an admonition that no one should die alone.  I wonder how someone cannot but die alone.  If everyone in the room with the dying person should die; I suspect the room would quietly but quickly empty.  How can you not die alone?  We die alone.  Holding someone’s hand doesn’t count although it makes the future bereaved feel better.   As an appendage, the hand naturally loses feeling as death draws near, so holding hands looks good if you’re Bette Midler in “Beaches” but does not really count in real life.

We don’t teach self-contentment to our children.  They play so well as children and then suddenly are thrust into groups and remain there.  (I wonder if it can even be taught but rather only learned through years of living.)

To be “alone” sounds terrible and should happen to no one.  To be “by yourself” is a trained treat and a gift that hopefully the years bring.

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on
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