From My Heart To Yours

When friendship disappears then there is a space left open to that awful loneliness of the outside world which is like the cold space between the planets. It is an air in which men perish utterly.   ~Hilaire Belloc

Being alone is hard.  I’ve spent a lot of time these last few years being the alone-est I’ve ever been, and I have to tell you that despite the fact that a lot of people find peace in that quiet solitude, there is nothing peaceful about it for me.

It is entirely possible that I am defining alone in a deeper way than you do, at least on the first pass.  I do love a rainy Saturday curled up in my big puffy loft chair with the new Marian Keyes book and a snoozing cat dropping fur all over me. That is not alone.  That is contentment.  The mornings that I wake up by myself in the soft gray light after having spent the evening before discussing all my dreams with God are some of my favorites. I burrow down into my pillows, two under my head, one down each side of my body, and I smile with sleepy eyes towards the Father who stood guard over me all night.  That is not alone.  That is peace.

Alone, to me, is a far more pervasive thing.  It’s those moments when I can’t talk to God anymore because He does not talk back to me in a way that I understand.  It’s the moments when I’m desperate for some human contact, for another person to talk to me, to listen to me, to just be there with me while I feel things and at the end of the acute longing, I have no one.  Alone is when I just want someone, anyone to understand my heart without my having to put all of that bigness into tiny, inconsequential words.  Alone is that void that is left after stuffing a weekend full of friends and family, the one that yawns before me as I arrive to my empty, dark home and discover that Murphy has been sick all over the carpet because he ate too much grass.

The thing about that sort of loneliness is that everyone feels it.  It isn’t reserved only for the widowed or the childless or the bullied. You don’t have to be single to feel that ache.  I know many people who have such pretty lives on the outside, lives full of love and laughter, but who can sense in another person those depths of sadness just like I can, because they feel it, too.  The beauty of it, though, is that we *can* sense it.  One singular void recognizes another singular void and for some, there is camaraderie in that.

As much as I’d love to tell you that I have a cure for this level of alone, I don’t.  I have very little advice to give, but the things I do have, I’ll tell you.

I’ll tell you that if your heart is lonely, I feel it.  I’m sorry.  I’d give you a hug if you were near me.  I hope you’d hug me back.

I’ll also tell you that several years ago, after living in an unhealthy one, I realized that relationships are not meant to be stiffly drawn lines in which one person gives and the other person takes until one person is all used up and hollow.  The sadness I felt at the end of that relationship seemed to stem from the loss of the partner but in hindsight, I now realize it came solely from the loss of me.  The things I gave away . . . . willingly and happily . . . oh, what I’d give to get them back.  I lost a bit of myself and when I felt alone, I was alone without even me to fall back on.  Don’t do that.  Don’t give up your *you* for another person.  It isn’t fair and it isn’t healthy.

Thirdly, I’ll tell you that if you need friends or things to do to get outside of yourself, visit meetup.com and find a group.  Sign up for something, even if you only find it very slightly interesting.  Even if you feel scared.  The first meetup I went to was with a group of five women, all of whom were living lives similar to mine.  I arrived before everyone else and cried at the door before I could bring myself to go in to the venue.  I just sobbed.  Nothing is harder than trying something new when your heart is a shattered mess of pulp and broken promises.  But after I sobbed, I wiped off my runny mascara and walked in the door.  I greeted each new woman with a watery smile, of which I got five back in return.  We were all alone, and out of that alone formed a bond of friendship that no longer was based on sad but on new shared memories.

And finally, I’ll tell you that whatever your fight, whatever your alone, whatever your mountain you need to climb, don’t stop fighting.  Don’t give up.  Every time life knocks you down and bloodies your lip and breaks your heart, get back up and look it square in the eye, and say, “You hit like a bitch.”  Your only way to lose is to stay on the ground.

From my sometimes lonely heart, to yours,

Love, truly,

Jimmie

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