Last night I was lying in bed, praying as I often do when I can't sleep or when I'm troubled or afraid, and I started pondering the question of loneliness. It suddenly struck me that we're all, in our own way, alone. Or perhaps not all of us, but a good percentage.

I have found that there is nobody in this world--at least, nobody that I have met so far--who understands me perfectly. Even the girls in my dance class do not understand how I can love dance so much, and they don't understand that I can't live without it, that to have to quit would seem like the end. I think some of them are jealous of me, because I get to be with the older girls, but that's just a theory based on our recent confrontations ("How comes you're with the others in the Treble Reel?" "What others?" "The girls who do the toestands." "I always am..." "No you're not!" "Yeah I am ..." *confused* "You can ask Patrick if you don't believe me?")

And then there are other people at school for whom music is just a hobby, but I don't know whether I could live without it. Perhaps I could, for it's certain that we've grown a little bit apart in recent months, and yet I'm not so sure. My classical playing I would not mourn too much, but the traditional fiddle: that would be hard to forsake.

And finally there is my writing. I think here is where I have met the most people that understand me, because I have Protagonize. They know what it is like to be a writer and not to be able to live without a pen and paper or a computer; they know what it is like to mourn the death of a character and to cry when characters cry. They understand me.

I've found there to be people who don't understand why I don't like sport, or don't understand why I like reading, or don't understand why I don't watch soaps, or don't understand why I'd rather be in the library than Primark, or don't understand why I wear black with a red belt to Irish dance competitions instead of a fancy dress, or don't understand why when I'm scared or lonely or suffering from insomnia I appear to talk to thin air, and believe that it answers ... people just don't understand me.

I was praying last night and I was saying, "God, I don't know if you know what it's like to be alone because Jesus had all his followers..." And then I realised how wrong I was: he was the most alone of all of us! How little could they understand about him? He was God, for goodness sake! They couldn't get him into their brain, because he was weird and wacky and impossible to understand.

And he was alone in the desert, and alone among people for nobody really understood him: he was different. Realising this, I continued, "Of course he wasn't, because he always had you there beside him..." I trailed off again. I'd got it wrong. That was something we had in common, me and my mate Jesus. We both had God there beside us.

So I stopped and started thinking again. If even Jesus was alone, with his crowds of followers, and the only person that understood him was God, perhaps we're all alone--perhaps everyone thinks how I think every now and again. You know, they're in a big crowd, and they suddenly think, "These people don't know how I feel," or, "These people have completely the wrong idea about me, I'm not like that at all." And how much more alone, how much lonelier, are those that don't even have God?

It was a breakthrough to me and I carried on sitting, praying, thinking, because everything started to make sense. That's what this world is, I realised: it's a place where we are alone. And that's what heaven is: a place where we will never be lonely again.

The End

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