This uncomfortable truth

hardened by connie rock

I don’t know where to go with it.
This loneliness.
Sometimes crushing.
Not a problem to be solved per se.

Typically, I am busy and engaged with adventures woven among the lives of friends and family. Or I’m off kicking rocks and gasping up hills on the Konza by myself.

But it is the night hours
and mornings
when the train whistle sounds and the owl calls to its mate
when the love among my friends’ relationships
– those sweet and imperfect connections –
that cause me to cheer
and my heart to squinch –
that loneliness hunts me like a hungry and cunning predator.

As a single adult
I’m not supposed to admit to that…Loneliness.

It’s uncool
and sounds suspiciously

But it is my living – it has always been this way:
Joy and Adventure
and Friends and the Kids
with an undercurrent of loneliness.

it just feels like the jet stream doing its thing –
propelling me here or pushing back in this other direction.

Every year of M & K’s lives
I’ve reminded them to “never make a long-lasting decision
based on loneliness.”

To be cautious of extending or receiving an invitation of marriage
six months on either side of a big life change.
“Give yourselves a chance to sort out the new normal”
was what I was really saying
to them and me.

This week, I had the privilege of enjoying a beer and burger with a friend who
retired one day and within two weeks learned that her husband had cancer.
He was gone in a few months…and it’s only been a few weeks since he died.

She spoke of kindnesses
and the proddings of folks who want to see her happy.

I mentioned that grief is a buggar
that sets its own agenda.
She is already finding her new pace and new normal.
She is brave and will dream again.

Loneliness is also a buggar with its own agenda.

We support ourselves, one another, and strangers.
Like death, we hesitate to talk about loneliness.
But its out there folks. Real.

In here.

And a lifetime of looking for the postman to deliver a letter
Or the phone to ring
Or the people who brought us forth to be for us and to cover us with love and safety
rather than storm and destruction
makes the loneliness a bit more acidic.

I spent most of my life pretending that I wasn’t lonely.
All of the truest adventures were born out of a need to live life
when death and distance was poured over us rather than life.
I was hardened – afraid – and pretended not to hurt.

Hmmmm, I am sure that it oozed out.

I’ve learned that people and companionship are part of the “un-lonelying”
though much of the transformation comes from within
in action – yes – but also in honesty and asking for help
and a willingness to put yourself out there and invite folks over even if they see your scars.
Or the souffle flops.
And conversation fails.

I don’t know why I am tossing this truth out there
Except that so many of us are lonely
Unwilling to be projects
Not needy, but
Desiring and
Well known to gratitude
And quirky – real.

Most people would never guess that loneliness is my daily bread
as much as peanut butter and chocolate.
But it is.
I’m not deficient
or friendless.

Faithless? Ah yes, though I tossed my duct-taped Message bible onto the rug this morning and read Psalms 89 & 90. (I still want to believe, but it is not adding up.)

Psalm 90 (bits of it)
5 Are we no more to you than a wispy dream, no more than a blade of grass 6 That springs up gloriously with the rising sun and is cut down without a second thought? 7 Your anger is far and away too much for us; we’re at the end of our rope… 9 All we can remember is that frown on your face. Is that all we’re ever going to get? 10 We live for seventy years or so (with luck we might make it to eighty), And what do we have to show for it? Trouble. Toil and trouble and a marker in the graveyard… 12 Oh! Teach us to live well! Teach us to live wisely and well! 13 Come back, God – how long do we have to wait? – and treat your servants with kindness for a change. 14 Surprise us with love at daybreak; then we’ll skip and dance all the day long. 15Make up for the bad times with some good times; we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime. 16 Let your servants see what you’re best at – the ways you rule and bless your children. 17 And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us, confirming the work that we do. Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

So there you go: my pariah post.

Still searching for the North Star.


About allielousch

Engaged in everyday adventures and derring do.
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2 Responses to This uncomfortable truth

  1. Seth Barnes says:

    Connecting in our oh-so-independent and now virtual society ain’t what it used to be. We need clubs and orgs and activities to connect around.

    And demographic change complicates the whole tangled process. Empty nesting requires finding new pals somehow. Travel schedules can mess with your connecting too. Hard to commit to stuff when you’re out of town.

    And on top of that, a lot of folks don’t know how to be or seek good friends. I’ve got a lot of people in my life, but I’m facing into a bracing breeze blowing change that brings loneliness on the backside.

  2. allielousch says:

    Loneliness seems to be part of the package, doesn’t it? Either I don’t have enough sense or too much bravado/compassion to keep pretending it isn’t real. Superb community helps. So does having a marching band and Willie the WildCat come through an office I was in moments ago. (I thought, “I’d have hated to miss that, too.”) But some days and nights the quiet is too much for all of us. Scads of great music in the background helps and getting rid of my TV years ago was the best decision I’ve made re: loneliness.

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