Luke 15:1-3, 11-32
Thomas Wolfe, one of America’s literary giants, believed that the experience of loneliness was a necessary condition of creative living. In his book, “The Hills Beyond,” he wrote of his strong conviction that “loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.” He said that with loneliness comes a “hideous doubt, despair and dark confusion of the soul which actually puts the lonely person in closer touch with himself, enabling him to broaden his horizons and deepen his humanity.”
The following account of an episode in the life of mountain-climber Hermann Buhl dramatically illustrates what Thomas Wolfe meant:
When Hermann Buhl reached the highest peak in the Himalayas, he did not feel any great joy and enthusiasm or any great thrill of accomplishment even though he was the first man to reach the summit. He had suffered great pain and had faced almost certain death.…
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