“Loneliness,” there it was—ironically listed all by itself on my stats page as a key word someone used to search for blog posts. His or her search led them to my blog. I wondered who this person was and what longing they had inside that drove them to look for posts about this subject (For those unfamiliar with a stats page, this WordPress feature enables you to see the words people imputed to search for specific topics).
I am no stranger to loneliness. In fact, I have learned to uncomfortably coexist with this unwanted traveling companion. At times, loneliness towers over my small, insignificant frame.
As I look back over the years, I have wrestled with this fiendish tormentor my fair share. Others would hardly suspect due to my somewhat vivacious and friendly personality. Yet if honest, I am very familiar with this ache in soul that unexpectedly appears and does not easily go away.
Recently, my husband and I enjoyed a delightful outing to the Santa Anita Park. As my husband and I returned from Arcadia, we meandered through the city of Pasadena. I looked up to read the street sign in what seemed like a familiar place. To my shock, this was the exact location of the recovery meetings I attended so many years ago.
“How odd,” I thought, “that this emotion rushed in so strongly even though I am now happily married with a circle of family and friends who provide ongoing support.”
After we arrived home, feelings of loneliness increased and yet seemed strangely out-of-place due to the pleasant afternoon we had. I thought, “my husband is in the other room so why am I feeling this way?” Even though the emotion passed, I kept thinking about loneliness.
Yes, loneliness is no respecter of persons, places, or possessions. She visits and revisits in spite of your advancements in the world or in your soul.
I wrote the following poem during one of those desperately lonely times. To frame the moment, I was a newly divorced young mother of two trying to make sense of my marriage ending. I drove to Pasadena each week in order to attend a Twelve-step group for codependents. I called this “The Trail of Tears” because I would drive and cry all the way to the meeting. Yet, it was at this support group that I encountered my dysfunction that contributed to our failed relationship. It was also during the drive home that I faced my familiar, yet tormenting, companion called loneliness once again.
I also experience loneliness before someone calls sharing similar struggles. I then find myself a little more patient in offering support and understanding. Loneliness forms a bridge for human connection.
Sometimes loneliness is most intense after wonderful times of human interaction. For instance, your adult children leave and the house seems still and empty.
One of my loneliest moments occurred when I saw my daughter’s face through the car window for the last time. Her father drove her away to the airport to leave for Cambodia. The tears streamed down her face as both of us craned our necks to see each other for one more moment. Even as I write, longing to see her sweet face places an ache in my heart.
Sometimes her Facebook post says it all, “I miss my mom.”
I’ve always wanted to run from this annoyance of soul. Yet, when I embrace feelings of loneliness and quiet my mind, insight and inspiration flow forth.
I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand this emotion we humans call loneliness. I only know that at times, I long for something more. I still search for a larger group of people who support one another when daily life hammers.
I have definitely found a portion of my desire for social connection through online sources like Facebook and blogs.
Yet, I suspect I will forever brush shoulders with this strange yet old friend, loneliness. Perhaps loneliness is just a human emotion that comes and goes.
Maybe God bestows a double portion of this emotion upon writers so we can form into words what others cannot always identify and express.