So you think you know loneliness...

When I was little, I thought being alone was awesome. No one to interrupt my favorite part in the story. I easily weaved my life around whether I felt like being around other people or not. A true introvert that require recharging after just enough socialization. As I grew up, I realized there were many layers to loneliness. There was the loneliness of being talked about behind your back, the loneliness of having a secret you cannot share, the loneliness of pain, the loneliness of hope. Loneliness can take the shape of a friend that doesn't answer your phone calls or texts or responds to emails once every six months. Loneliness is the family members that choose not to speak to you or talk only of themselves. Loneliness is not being heard or seen. Loneliness exists in the expectations of others. 

I didn't know loneliness could exist with love. I knew that lack of love, and loss, could lead to lonely. But I thought love was a sacred place free of loneliness. After all, love must have more than one, right? Wrong. It exists when we love another and they love who they think we are, or we love who we think they can be. It's lonely when our love is heard as an attack, or not received at all. Loneliness creeps in when love is distant, when love speaks different languages, when love is not nurtured.

Fear creates loneliness, it makes it grow exponentially.

Loneliness is not an evil, though. It is not to be conquered. Loneliness needs to be held, it needs to be seen, listened to, and it needs the truth. Loneliness must exist. Without it, connection holds no power. And love is not as beautiful. Loneliness is real, as far as feelings can be, but it is also a construct of our minds. Loneliness divides and separates, it leads to greater disconnect from self and others. The lonelier we are, the lonelier we become.

What if it didn't have to be that way?

Someone once told me that they saw a sign once that said, "you never have to be alone again." Some of you may recognize that's a favorite in the rooms. I first thought that it meant that I now had all these people in my life who understood me. All these new best friends with a similar problem. For a while it did mean that for me. But the loneliness makes more sense and has been with me longer. It always finds me, even here, on the eve of 1000 days. My loneliness has taken every form I have listed, and many more. Tonight, it resides in the form of being unseen, unheard. Loneliness tonight lies asleep while I cry burning hot tears of shame, sitting with the pain and blame of someone else laid at my feet. Even though the pain is not mine, I am ashamed that it somehow is my fault. My loneliness tells me I cause all the pain and hurt, so when another says it too...I cannot decipher what is real anymore. 
This is not real. 
My feelings were and are valid. 
I am not the cause of all pain.

How many nights must I sit awake, alone, crying for someone that can sleep and be undisturbed by the pain of a loved one? How many nights must my tears wash my face and soul clean of the loneliness? When will it be enough? 

I know now what that saying meant, "you never have to be alone again." It meant that where faith lives, there is hope. Faith is a comfort, a choice. I have faith that this is not my destiny. I have hope that one day I will not sit here alone, that one day my pain will be valid and seen. Those of a more spiritual nature than I would say that god holds me in these times. God wipes my tears. My version of a higher power is different from this, but it holds true. I know I am not alone. I have me. I have you. I have this connection that we all share amidst one of the most lonely and isolating times many of us have ever experienced. And yet, I have felt more alone than this before.

What is my lesson? What is this teaching me tonight? In this moment of grief for what cannot be right now? It is reminding me that I can choose to see me. I can honor my tears and my single wish to be fully seen, heard, held, loved JUST AS I AM. In my perfectly imperfect terminally unique self that is capable of the same loneliness that we all feel from time to time. The loneliness of not being understood, the loneliness that no one could ever feel as alone as we do right now.
But don't you see? If we all feel it, then we all are not alone.

I see you. I hear you. I feel you. I love you.

Blessed be and goodnight,


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