Lonely

I tend to like having time alone depending on what I am doing.
Sometimes.

Sounds conflicted, doesn’t it?

One of the things I value so much about my new marriage is our ability to be together quietly.

Nothing is forced. We don’t have to talk for the sake of creating noise. We can each be doing what we want and are completely comfortable just knowing the other is near.

That shared look across the room communicates volumes (and truth be known makes my heart race).
I am grateful for her continued presence in my life.

Sometimes I like solitude.
Often I like peace and tranquility.
But never, ever do I like being lonely.

When I remarried, the tongues wagged (and so did the keyboards). I heard from numerous folks how “men just don’t do well alone.” As if the only reason I married again so quickly was to fill a void in my life. But hey, if they were talking about me they were giving somebody else a much need break.

Can I get an amen?
Anyway.

Was there a void in my life? Yes.
Did I get married just to fill it (or have a momma figure for my boys)? No.

Not being lonely is important to me, but not so important that I would jump into something rash just so I wouldn’t be alone.

All that being said, I married Becki because it was obvious we had a deep, deep connection. It was crystal clear that together, neither of us would ever be lonely again. We have a good marriage. We are a good team.

Three Dog Night (Yes, I am that old) once sang one is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.

Real lonely hurts deep. You can be lonely by yourself. You can be lonely in a crowd. You can be lonely in a relationship. You can be lonely preaching for a church. You can be lonely when your greatest needs, desires, and expectations are unmet.

Don”t believe me? Just ask.

Ask the wife who hasn’t had a meaningful conversation with her husband in years.
Ask the preacher who is shriveling on the vine for lack of real friendship among the people he serves.
Ask the single person who is desperately tired of having no one to share their heart.
Ask the woman who wants a child what it is like to be surrounded by other women and their children.
Ask the step-parent who wants nothing more than to be able to love the children of his or her spouse.
Ask the man, woman, or child whose emptiness wants more than anything to hear a word from God.

There are people all around you–some even close–who are so lonely they could scream.

Have you ever noticed?

Pain and tragedy creates loneliness. And sometimes others are so uncomfortable with your pain that they unintentionally create distance making the loneliness that much more profound.

There is a very real chance that nothing you can say or do will alleviate that particular pain. But at least by being present, the loneliness might not be so, well, lonely.

Each of us has the ability to speak to the loneliness present in our world.

Will you?

Les Ferguson, Jr.

18 thoughts on “Lonely

  1. Great thoughts, and a wonderful point. You knocked that one out of the park. There is a particular kind of lonliness that only a few people know. This will resonate with those souls…

  2. Amen! So very true and we so often don’t realise the person near by is longing for that smile, that word of greeting. Are we really that busy?

  3. May I add a couple of more?

    What about the mom of a special needs child surrounded by so-called “normal” families?

    And what about a mom who is surrounded by grandmothers and knows that she will probably never be one?

  4. All so true. I can relate to many of these, Three Dog Night and all. I could comment on each and every one of your statements and comments but I will just say that I am so glad you have found someone to share your life and your family with. Being lonely is no way to live. I tried it once and wasn’t for me. Tongue waggers need to walk a mile in your shoes.

  5. I can so relate to this post Les.

    I grieved deeply when I lost my first wife Ellen. Back then people asked me if I was lonely after she died. Hard to be lonely when you have kids. Even so, there was such a deep and devastating sense of being alone. I guess it is evidence of a great loss. After all, the two who once became one no longer were one. Here is a poem that I wrote shortly after my first wife’s death.

    =====================
    The Two Become One – Reversed

    At every thought of her my heart breaks.
    It is like half of me is no longer alive.
    We were so much a part of each other that
    it is hard to go on without her.

    My soul aches within me and there is no comfort
    except the knowing that she no longer suffers.
    Knowing that she is in the presence of God helps.

    My flesh wants to move on with my life
    but my heart wants to remain in the past.
    Our life was so full together.

    It is hard to imagine happiness without my Ellen.
    =====================

    I married Ann just over a year after Ellen’s death and I am sure folks had a similar reaction to our marriage as they did to your marriage to Becki. Even so, it is hard to imagine my life without Ann. Some time I’ll share the poem I wrote about our courtship. πŸ™‚

  6. Excellent post, bro. So many good points. As you illustrate, there is a big difference between being alone and being lonely…at least in the context of this post.

    From Merriam-Webster:
    Alone (1): “Separated from others”
    Lonely (4): “Producing a feeling of bleakness or desolation”
    Desolate (2): “Joyless, disconsolate, and sorrowful through or as if through separation of a loved one
    Desolate (3c): “Devoid of warmth, comfort, or hope”

    Indeed, being alone is neither good nor bad; it just ‘is’.

    On the other hand, being lonely sucks. Devoid of warmth or comfort or hope…that says it pretty well, I think.

    But, I really like your take on things – Being lonely sucks, but being lonely AND alone can feel like the coup de grace.

    I like that phrase, “Be there for you”. It’s not always about what people say or do…oftentimes it’s about them just ‘being’ there. Less about the fixing; more about the caring, I suppose.

  7. I bawled reading this blog, Les…. you hit it on so many levels… infertility (did that for six years), lonliness in marriage…. I just wrote about that one in a class… “stepchildren”…. yeah…. This spoke directly to my heart. Thank you my friend.

    BTW, I am glad you have Becki…. let the tongues wag…. πŸ™‚

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