A place where everybody knows your name

“The loneliest moment in someone’s life is when they are watching their whole world fall apart,
and all they can do is stare blankly.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

( the wall inside the Bull and Finch Pub in Boston that was the inspriation to the television
hit series Cheers / Julie Cook / 2014)

I’ve always considered myself a rather independent individual,
as well as one who relishes in the quiet of being”alone”…
yet for the notion of loneliness, I am, like most folks, not a fan.

I’ve spent most of my married life on my own—not so much because I wanted to
or because my husband was always traveling or in the military but rather because he’s
owned and run a smalltown family retail business for right at 50 years.

He has worked 6 days a week, often 12 or more hours a day, for most of his life…
and he was working in the family business long before I came along.
The Christmas holiday season saw that time of working up to 7 days a week
at 14 or more hours a day.

At first, this wasn’t an easy adjustment.

My dad, for most of my growing up, worked for the County–a 9 to 5 sort of dad.
At one point early in his life, he had been a traveling salesman for my
Grandfather’s company, but Dad had hated it.
Dad was more lazy than not, so the idea of being on the road 24 /7 was less than appealing.
So as soon as my Grandfather died at the young age of 67 in 1967,
my dad and his brother sold the family business and dad went to work as an engineer
for the Fulton County Health Department.

So I was used to a dad who got home at a reasonable hour for supper
and who was always home on weekends.

That was not the case for the man I married.
For he has worked more than he’s been home.

He carries a great deal of regret with all of this as far as our son’s growing up was
concerned–but I continue to reassure him that he did the best he could and managed to
squeeze in good quality time with our son when it was most needed.

And I too have rendered my time to the store, especially during the holidays—
but as a career educator and eventually both teacher and a mom, my own time was
equally filled. Yet it seems that the two of us have, more or less,
been more apart then together…

So I was intrigued this morning when I caught the title of our friend the Wee Flea,
Pastor David Robertson’s title to his latest blog post—
Loneliness-the cord of three strands- Ecclesiastes 4:7-12

The Cure for Loneliness – the Cord of Three Strands – (Ecclesiastes 4:7-12)

It seems that the idea of loneliness, as a rife problem, was recently noted in
a commissioned report produced regarding life in the UK…
and it is now seen as such a real problem that the UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May,
has just appointed a minister to be in charge of the UK’s problem of loneliness, having
named Tracey Crouch as the new Minister of Loneliness.

A rather interesting title…and I imagine there’s a song in there someplace…
such as the song ‘One is the Loneliest Number’ by the 70’s rock group, Three Dog Night,
which suddenly comes racing back into present-day focus.

Our Wee Flea friend notes that “according to the aforementioned Jo Cox report there are
9 million people in the UK who always, or mostly, feel lonely.
It’s a problem recognised in our media.
The long-running Australian soap reminds us of the importance of ‘good neighbours’
who become ‘good friends’.
Yet how many of us live in streets when we don’t even know the names of our neighbours
(other than when the Amazon parcel arrives),
never mind identify them as friends?
Likewise, Netflix has just introduced a new generation to the ever popular
Friends with its instantly recognisable theme tune, ‘I’ll be there for you’.
How many of us have friends who will be there for us?
How many of us have substituted the handful of friends that come from deep and
committed relationships, with the hundreds of online friends who mean virtually nothing?”

The long-running comedy series, Cheers was the show that first popped into
my mind when thinking of the notion of loneliness along with friends and family
being found is the some of the oddest of places.

(yours truly, along with the ever working husband who, on a business trip, found time
to go visit that place where everyone knows your name / 2014)

The story, if you recall, was set in Boston at a fictions pub named Cheers.
The actual real-life pub that was the inspiration for the TV show is named the
Bull and Finch; a Bostonian pub dating back merely to 1969.
The Bull and Finch is a much smaller place than the television version’s pub
known as Cheers–yet is set up in a rather similar fashion.

One does indeed descend down a small set of stairs from the street level while walking
into a more cramped, low ceilinged sort of tightly configured quasi-tavern.
The bar, however, is long and somewhat spacious. There is a bronze plaque screwed
to the end of the bar, commemorating the iconic seat reserved for the character Norm who
always appeared arriving at the bar after work.
He’d take his usual place at the end of the bar where he would receive his usual,
an icy cold mug of beer while he was often heard to lament about life with his wife who
was obviously home…alone.

(a plaque on the bar at the Bull and Finch Pub commemorating where Norm always
would sit / Julie Cook / 2014)

There is also a back set of stairs similar to the stairs in the TV show, that does lead up
to another restaurant, along with, of course, a Cheers gift shop.

This was a show about the lives of the hodgepodge mix of folks who were each connected
to the pub. From the bar owner, bartenders, barmaids down to the patrons–
and how they had all developed their own sort of close-knit family despite having lives
outside of the bar.

The bar was a place where regular patrons could come, having their very own seat…a place
where the bartenders knew what to serve without the patron ever having to say a word—
simply coming and sitting down said it all…as strangers each gravitated to
this nondescript little pub while eventually becoming most important one to another…
much like an extended family.

A place where everyone knew your name…your likes, your dislikes, your history,
your story, your ups, and your downs…

And whereas our friend the Wee Flee was drawn to the book of Ecclesiastes and the
pinning of a now wizened old king found in Solomon…

Ecclesiastes 4 deals with the oppressed having no comforter, a man without
the companionship of family and friends and a lonely king.
The early church had some quite fanciful interpretations of this passage.
Jerome, for example, saw in the three-fold cord the faith, hope, and love of 1 Corinthians.
Ambrose was more interesting – in speaking of Christ as the friend who sticks closer
than a brother he sees him as the one who lifts up the companion when he falls,
the one who warms, and the one who went from the prison to be a king.
He points us to the real solution for loneliness.

I myself seem to find much more comfort in those words and thoughts
offered by our friend St Ambrose rather than that wisdom uttered by the aging King Solomon.

That being the notion of Christ being closer to us than that of our very kin…

The fraternity of Christ, is closer than the fraternity of blood.”
He took what is mine in order that He might impart to me what is His.
He took it not to overturn it but to fill it.

And thus we find that it is in our very relationship with Christ in which our loneliness
dissipates as He and His very essence of being seeps in turn, into our very being,
filling every void and crack within often lonely lives.
Thus being truly the One who knows our name, our ups, our downs, our dislikes, our likes,
our best and our worst—staying right by our side despite what He knows about us
and sees—because He is us and we are Him…

Abide in me, and I in you.
John 15:4

23 comments on “A place where everybody knows your name

  1. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging and commented:
    Lovely to have Christ fill our cups to overflowing!! 🙂

  2. I’m about to read Ecclesiastes 4, but just wanted to say “hi” before I log off. And to tell you that being a farmer’s wife is even worse. We lived on the workplace, ate there, slept there and spent all of our time there. I say “we”, but mostly mean me. My hubs was also a plumber/pipefitter/welder. I saw him only at mealtimes, and then always with a crowd of farm hands, all coming in to eat. I loved every minute and every inch of that farm life, but one of my neighbors took me to have our last baby because hubs was too busy on the farm to take time off. Even with his own accident/injury times, he was out on that farm! Fortunately, I am enough of a loner that I coped, but so many people can’t find middle ground. Loneliness is a way of life for me, always has been. But there are so many things I taught myself to do during all hours when I couldn’t count on him to fix the plumbing, or move the furniture that I also came out a winner. We raised 3 wonderful kids on those farms, all of them with wonderful work ethics who expected from the beginning to work for the things they wanted rather than have them drop in their laps. Not sure what my point was any more, just wanted to let you know that there are a lot of us out there who are friends with loneliness. ❤

    • Thanks for sharing Angie- yep, you get it! And like you I’ve learned to do a lot around the house by myself— wiring issues however I will wait on as I don’t trust my electrician skills!
      Hope it’s sunny there in Kentucky- we’re cold and soggy down here in Georgia!

  3. Thanks for the great post. I haven’t really thought about loneliness much. In my work, I have always been around people a lot. As a manager you live in meetings. At home, family then kicks in. Having a little lone time always has been a luxury. Now however, I am alone more and more. I see the challenge.

    Be blessed.

    • I think the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve noticed that there’s is almost a fear in many folks to slow down or to stop their frenetic paced lives and I honestly believe many are afraid of what to do with any sort of idleness

  4. dbp49 says:

    Your wonderful post reminded me of my days on the carnival when I could have 10,000 people surrounding me at all times, and still be all alone, and how different it is since I found the Lord, so that now even though I live completely by myself, I never feel like I’m without His company. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. We are soul-sisters. I wrote a post a long time ago in which I referenced the Cheers theme. But YOU have been to the site! How amazing is that? Love the photo of you and your husband! And of course, the thoughts you share about Christ being closer than family! Beautiful post, dear Julie! As always! ❤ ❤

    • Always on the same page ☺️
      And might I add that The Bull and Finch aka Cheers had some really great seafood chowder!
      I looked back at some of those pictures from that trip- it’s time I dust off the elliptical 😝

      • You and me both! I’m going to pull out my stationary bike as well! 🙂 Oh, one of my all-time favorite soups is New England Clam Chowder! Delish! Now you are making me hungry and I will have to do extra time on my stationary bike! Ha! ha! 😉 ❤

  6. oneta hayes says:

    It is true that Christ is our greatest friend and aloneness with him can be delightful. However he instituted the family and church to take care of each other. I love Paul’s picture of the body of Christ. We need each other to function well. Obviously if we turn out like John on the isle of Patmos, we have no recourse for fellowship with others. Be a friend! Someone needs you!

  7. What a cute duo you two are! 🙂 ❤

  8. atimetoshare.me says:

    I almost missed this. I was actually fretting about my husband spending four hours on Sunday afternoon at church, trying to settle the dust and bring folks together – rather than spending it with me. I couldn’t really complain because he was doing the Lords work. Your post reminds me that after almost 54 years of marriage, I still demand his time. We’ve both gone our separate ways at times, but we always come back together. Thanks for sharing your wisdom again. You and Gregory are so cute!

  9. Wally Fry says:


    You know, I feel what you are saying. For years I worked awful hours, time away from home…the whole thing. Much of mine was because of the Military, and later the retail business. I know my wife was horribly lonely and the kids suffered for it. I still work a lot, but somehow it’s different this time. Well, the somehow is the tie of Jesus that binds us together, despite the time away and my almost continuous preoccupation with work even when I am around.

  10. SharaC says:

    Love this girl! Was just reading about the cord of three strands too! How crazy when humans try to fill the spot that was intended for God alone

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.