Alone in a Crowd

There’s a certain loneliness in essay writing. As I write this it’s 7pm on a Tuesday evening and my submission deadline is 10am the next morning. I managed only an hour at home with Jacqui and the kids; enough time to play a few games, watch the telly and eat some dinner. Now I’m back in the study room that I share with about 30 other guys.

Except I’m the only one here. Either they’ve all finished their essays (certainly not true) or, perhaps, they’re all more godly than me and value their families over and above their grades.

But that’s not the real loneliness of writing an essay. There is something more fundamentally isolating about the process for it leaves you stranded even though you are in a crowd.

I’ve been in the same crowd of people for well over a week now. I have made more than a passing aquaintance with (amongst others) Gerhard von Rad, Jürgen Moltmann, Tremper Longman III, Bill Dumbrell, and some geezer from 3,000 years ago called Qoheleth. They have been fine conversation partners but ultimately I am on my own, for the purpose of this whole exercise is not just to get to know them but to move beyond them; to find a space that is with them but not with them.

Deep? maybe
Contrived? certainly

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