Navigating Loneliness

Our puppy-dog Mo was gone for a night–she had a rendezvous with a handsome poodle who may have gotten a little frisky with our Berniedoodle. The kids were absolutely lost without her. Honestly, it was pathetic.

“Lonely to the core of his being” were my son’s words.

Today after school, the Mo-snuggles resumed and all is well with the world again… according to my kiddos. How in the world could one night without her bring on so much sadness?

It made me think back on my childhood. As a kid, I remember being a bit shy. But I never had to do anything or go anywhere by myself–I don’t ever remember being lonely. That was the reality of being a twin.

When we moved to Arroyo Grande, my son Tobey started at a new school. He didn’t know a single soul. Every morning we sat together on a red bench waiting for the bell to ring. Most days, he was such a brave first grader and held it together like a champ until that darn bell rang.

The tears would pool and then he’d hug me quick and tight before heading to the line outside of his classroom. I had no idea how he was feeling. My sister Brenda had always been around to keep me company. Tobey couldn’t fathom that feeling and he reminded me almost every day that school would be so much better if he had a twin.

I didn’t experience loneliness until my first day of college. It was the strangest feeling… I was alone, but completely prepared for it. I wanted to venture out on my own and I did, and then slowly an emptiness filled my soul.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but a few months went by and I found myself, nearly every weekend driving to see her. I’m not sure why we went to different colleges–I could make that trip with my eyes closed. I was lonely for my sister–too used to having her around. Kinda like my kids used to having Mo around.

Obviously my son doesn’t cry when I drop him off at the junior high school and I don’t drive to Wyoming every weekend to see my sister. The tears of first grade have paved the path to a confident young man. He learned early, what I learned later in life.

Loneliness is a huge issue–especially around the holidays. Some of us are all alone or maybe surrounded by people and yet share the same exact feelings. Christmastime brings up all kinds of memories, people we miss or have lost. Loved ones who choose not to have a relationship with us or maybe they live too far away.

The crazy thing is that we don’t get to choose our own path. You don’t decide what family you are born into or how many siblings you will have or if you get to be a twin or if the people you love will move away. But somehow most of us learn to be okay with ourselves. Navigating the loneliness we all face.

It wasn’t until after brain surgery in 2015 that I kicked loneliness out of my heart forever. Don’t get me wrong–I still miss people and even our dog Mo when she’s away. And of course, you’ll always have moments of longing for a good conversation with a friend or for me hanging out with my twinner.

But something changes when you’ve sensed God in a deep way. When your every breathe seems to hinge on His presence in your life. You know that He’s always with you–you are never really alone.

Wherever you are right now on the loneliness scale, look up. God is near–even when everyone else seems far away.

Wendi & my dog Mo

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Genesis 28:15

4 responses to “Navigating Loneliness”

  1. First I’m glad your doggy returned safe & sound. Secondly, thank you for the reminder that when loneliness and perhaps sadness creeps in, to lean into the arms our our Father who will NEVER leave us or forsake us. 🙌🏻

    1. Thank you Venissa… Yes Mo is fine, actually she was on a planned doggie date. I didn’t realize until now that it sounded like she got out. And yes… God is so faithful!!

  2. I spend a lot of time alone in my apartment. Most of the time I’m okay with it but there are times when the loneliness and the being alone get to me. I have a brother who lives 20 miles away, but we don’t talk or see each other–in fact it’s been almost 3 years since we were in touch. I have friends some of whom live close by and up to 5 of us will share a table at our nearby senior center for lunch up to 5 days a week. Of course, there are other people that eat there too, and we’ll visit some. But, for the most part, I am alone.

    1. Oh Janet… I am truly sorry that you feel alone. I don’t know if you are open to me saying this but it is only out of compassion and knowing how you feel. My encouragement for you is to reach out to God… He is the only one who won’t ever let us down. People always will, but God–never. Let’s talk again!!

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