square peg

John Lennon and Paul McCartney together and individually have written many beautiful and thought provoking songs. Their catalog of tunes with and without The Beatles is impressive.

In two songs “Eleanor Rigby” and “Nowhere Man” some interesting questions are asked.

The chorus in “Eleanor Rigby” notes “all the lonely people” and asks two questions: “Where do they all come from, and where do they all belong?”

Loneliness is all around us. 

Loneliness comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes, angles, and personalities. 

It might be very obvious or buried deep in a person’s soul. 

I assume that isolation, lack of self-confidence, even the redundancy of routine can contribute to making a person feel lonely. And yet, like a barely audible whisper, lonely people call out. 

I wonder in my daily living how many whispers of loneliness I have missed. I wonder how I might position myself to be more aware of people around me who are confined by loneliness.

I have the same wonder about people I have misread, misjudged, mistreated, and failed to understand. How do I react when these people don’t fit in my world?

 Thinking back about my work with students in school environments, I encountered numerous students who were “square pegs.” They just could never seem to find the right fit. Why was that?

Did I fail them as a teacher, administrator, and human being? Did I in my desire to help them fit in my world miss what they were truly searching for as they attempted to navigate school? Did my misunderstanding of their needs only create more isolation, loneliness, and difficulty for them?

In The Beatles song “Nowhere Man” in describing the dilemmas faced by nowhere man, this question is asked: “Isn’t he a bit like you and me?”

The truth is if we really take the time to carefully look at ourselves, we would find bits of our lives that are similar to the lonely people, nowhere man, and the square peg.

In that truth is this:  deep, deep inside of us we all want to fit, we want to be accepted, we all want to belong. The same is true for the lonely, nowhere man, and the square peg.

So, with the time I have left on this earth, how do I improve my capacity to become better at understanding the lonely, nowhere man,  and the square peg?

Maybe the starting point is to not to overly focus on the differences in the people I encounter each day, but to dig deeper to find our similarities.

For years, I resisted saying goodbye to my flip phone. My wife being much wiser than I am, put her foot down and brought me into the world of the iPhone. That iPhone has more applications on it than Van Camp’s has pork and beans. It is clear I will never use all those apps, but I have enjoyed the built in camera.

Because of that camera, I have the ability to instantly snap a picture.

A few weeks ago I was mowing the yard on a sunny afternoon. 

For some reason, I took a quick look at our front porch. The sunlight in the western sky had perfectly cast a ray of light through the glass from the light fixture mounted on the brick wall.

Down on the dingy surface of the worn, peppered gray concrete was a rectangular shaped prism of rainbow colors. I quickly took a photo.

I have gazed into that snapshot quite a bit. Amazed at how the angle of light was just right to create that small splash of colors.

Love must be somewhere in that rainbow of colors.

Whether we want to admit it or not, lonely people, nowhere man, square pegs, you, me, we—we’re all in that rainbow.

Author Carson McCullers once stated:  “We are homesick most for the places we have never known.”

I think her words capture the lonely, nowhere man, and the square pegs pretty well.

Most likely, they have never known what they are searching for in their lives.

We have an opportunity to change that.

That change is the love in the rainbow.

People need it. 

Especially right now.

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