"I go to bed at night feeling a void that's been there since I was a child—a void that causes me either to fight illicit thoughts or give in to them. It's hard to believe that God isn't angry with me for the mess that's still a part of my heart, mind, and soul."
Loneliness is common to us survivors—and perhaps to most people. We yearn for those who can truly see into our hearts, know us, and still love us.
Maybe we need to reach out to others more readily, but that's not easy. We were the kids who trusted the wrong people. The theft of our childhood made us feel different, isolated, and unwanted. We didn't know whom to trust and the more we held back, the deeper our estrangement.
Loneliness has often intruded in my life, but most acutely since my wife died in the spring of 2013. On January 1 of 2015, the loneliness became so acute I went for a four-mile walk and kept praying, "God, help me embrace my loneliness. It's part of who I am. I'm tired of trying to run from feelings of isolation."
Nothing happened that day, but within a week I realized the loneliness was present, but I didn't fight it. That may not sound like much to others, but for me, it made feeling alone bearable.
I've accepted my loneliness. I don't know the cure for it and maybe it will always be there. Maybe that's simply part of what we call the human condition. But I also remind myself those are emotions. And my emotions fluctuate constantly. I know I'm loved by God, by others, and have finally learned to love myself.
When I feel lonely and isolated
I remind myself, "Those are my emotions. They aren't reality."