The original title of this blog post was ‘On Loneliness’. ’On Loneliness’ you see, is beautifully detached. It’s an academic meditation on a problem I’ve heard about, a problem for people ‘out there’.
But the hard thing about loneliness is that it’s not ‘out there’. It’s personal.
There are lots of things I feel ashamed about. Anorexia’s a big ‘un. But you know, it’s easier to talk about eating disorders, than to say ‘I’m lonely’. Both make me feel ashamed. But loneliness feels worse. Because loneliness is the thing that no-one else gets. It’s the thing you can’t say. An unforgivable admission. A spreading stain of weakness that causes others to step away (further).
I’m choking on the words because I don’t want them to be mine: ’I'm Lonely’.
But sometimes, I am. Sometimes I feel like it’s just me and there’ll never ever be anyone else. And even when there are others – I can see them laughing and warm, but I just can’t reach.
Loneliness drives so much of what I do. The busyness. The noise. The lists.
The radio, humming in the background.
The flickering TV. I’m here. I’m in the world. I’m not on my own.
The Blackberry, flashing. Tap, tap, tap. Are you there? Do you need me? Tell me you need me. Tell me I’m not alone.
The fear of missing out – on the parties I should be attending, the invitations I should be receiving, the cards I should be getting, the messages I should be picking up.
Of stopping and being still and calling into the darkness and hearing – nothing.
I have good friends. Two sets of wonderful families. A beautiful husband, whom I love.
But it’s not enough.
I need to be known. Drawn in to a relationship that’s bigger than me - eternal, overflowing, uncontainable and irresistible. A Father who will never let me down. A husband who will never leave. A friend who will give their life for mine.
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
If I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
If I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.