Monday, April 23, 2018

Want to be Alone, but hate being by Myself

Photo by Ryan Walton on Unsplash

How paradoxical it can be in the season of loss, to prefer neither of the opposed options — to be with people or to be alone. I know this enigma of being very well, and anyone who’s ever grieved will possibly relate with the state of needing people yet not feeling safe with people.
Here are some thoughts for reflection:
Only now, years hence since my initial mortal wounding, when through it Christ breathed Spirit into my soul, do I look back and truly thank God for the times I invested out of my comfort zone with a few trusted others. I recall being at family events, especially, where everyone ‘got’ where I was at, but they were useless (and felt useless) for knowing what to say or how to engage with me, a normally larger-than-life kind of person, sedated by the loss that wrecked my confidence.
Fortunately, there was one cousin-in-law who somehow met me where I was at. That couple of 15-minute interactions I will never forget. She was just there for me.
If you’re a helper, just be there. You don’t need any special words or skills, just a heart of compassion that is willing to put yourself off for a short time, completely focused on the grieving person in front of you.
Those family events weren’t bad in and of themselves; they were hard because everyone else’s lives were going along normally, and mine had been re-railed through a momentary hell.
When you’re grieving, everywhere you look there are reminders of what you’ve lost. And people draw these out, because there are couples and children and happy people everywhere, or so it seems. The heart loses sight for the things we’re to be thankful for; we know they’re there, but the heart simply cannot feel thankful, apart from fleeting glimpses that tease us into thinking we’re over the grief. Of course, the grief recurs, again and again, ad infinitum!
Then there are the majority of times we’re conscious when we cannot stand being by ourselves. Yet, when all is said and done, and our meetings with others are over, that’s where we find ourselves, again and again, ad infinitum; alone! Sure, we can read our Bibles and encounter God, but in these times of enforced aloneness, even time with God can truly seem overrated, and the suggestion to do same can come across as a platitude. And yet, this is precisely the time when many of us encountered God for the first time by His Presence.
In grief, and this is sad but true, it’s normal to wish to be alone and, at the same time, hate being by ourselves. Find and make time to share with empathetic comforters. These kinds of people love to listen, and won’t find any of what you’ll share boring, repetitive, unreasonable, silly or unkind. They will simply understand.

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