Loneliness has got to be one of the worst things a person can experience. It aches and gnaws at your innermost being, not being loved or having anyone to love. I’ve come to this place many times in my life, and have done many things to try to fill the void.
You could say I had a typical American childhood. I lived with my parents, and my grandparents and relatives lived close by. But when I was ten, my parents divorced. Mom, wanting her own life, moved out. My parents decided that it would be best for my younger sister and brother and me to live with my dad. He had a steady job and seemed more stable than Mom.
It was like a nightmare. I’d wake up at night expecting that it had all been a bad dream and imagining that my parents were back together. Lots of other kids had parents who were divorced, but I couldn’t believe it had happened to my parents, too. I closed up. I felt so empty inside. I had no one to talk to. I wanted and needed my mother, like every young girl does. I needed her to help me through the turmoil of growing up, to help me understand what life was really about. There were so many changes that were happening to me. But she wasn’t there, so basically, I had to go it alone. I started drifting further from everyone at home. They all said that I was so quiet and never looked happy.
Then when I was twelve, my dad got drunk and broke down, telling me he wasn’t my real father. I already felt like I was the black sheep of my family and this only confirmed it. I began to see all the real differences between my sister and me; my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and other relatives I’d known all of my life were not even related to me at all. My arguments with my sister often ended with her yelling at me to go back where I came from, that I didn’t belong with them. I felt so very empty, and alone. I felt like it was me against the whole world. The only one I truly belonged to was a mother who didn’t want me. Somewhere I had a father I’d never met.
My time came when I had to go to high school. I really dreaded lunchtime, when hundreds of kids sat laughing and talking at the tables while I watched and said nothing. It made it clear how alone I really was. The whole scene made me sick. When the bell rang, I could see myself in some shoe factory, like it was time to go back to the assembly line.
Then, in the eleventh grade my opportunity for change came. My cousin transferred to my school. He made friends instantly and with people I’d only admired from a distance ? the cool, progressive clique. Amazingly, I was welcomed by them. I actually felt happy. I was hanging out with the coolest people in school. I had a new identity, a new look, new friends. I felt accepted.
Not that my loneliness was cured. It just didn’t hurt as much? but it was still there. Things were pretty good when I was with my friends, but in class I was the same isolated, insecure person I had always been. I would count the minutes for the bell to ring so I could meet up with them again.
With this new scene came alcohol, drugs, and sex. It seems as if this was all we lived for. Our whole life was centered around the weekend. I hated being sober because I hated the reality of my life. I was lonely and miserable, and wanted love and affection so badly.
Being wasted helped me "open up," be friendly and not so intimidated by people. Sometimes I would even sleep with someone I didn’t know very well or never met before. So many times I gave myself to someone in the hope of finding love, care, or just having a good friend.
I never found what I was looking for. I was used so many times, and then began to use others as objects of gratification. Really, I just wanted to be loved. But not only did no one love me, I didn’t know how to love back.
Because I had violated my conscience so many times in such serious ways, I wasn’t able to have deep relationships. I was shallow and insecure. I was so afraid to open up, to let people see how I really was. I didn’t want to keep going from person to person, but something about being held by another human being gave me something I couldn’t find anywhere else ? a sense of security, a feeling that I was loved. When the moment was over, though, so was the "love," and loneliness was twisting my heart again.
So many times I gave my entire being to someone, and the next day we had nothing more than a passing "Hi" for each other, or worse, we never even saw each other again. Where was hope for a real relationship?
I knew I was absolutely wrong in what I was doing. My conscience screamed at me in drunken emotional depressions where I would grieve and agonize over everything I’d done, feeling so lonely, so desperate, so dirty.
Meanwhile, all my friends were telling me everything was okay. "Don’t get so upset?it isn’t so bad." They knew that if they told me the truth it would be true for them, too.
How I longed to not do these things anymore! I just wanted to be with people who loved me for me. But how could anyone love me for who I was, after all the things I’d done? Who was me, anyway? And where are friends who will tell you the truth about yourself and still keep on loving you?
This was not an easy story for me to write. But at least it’s been made easier by how it ends. As the years went by, I made an amazing discovery: I found some people who are devoting themselves to become the kind of friends I always wanted. I learned from them that there is a way to become clean, and start life all over again on the good foundation of love. It’s the kind of love I always wanted but couldn’t find. Now I’m with those people and we’re learning how to be friends from the most accomplished friend of all time. His name is Yahshua. He’s the author of friendship. He is taking someone as wounded as I was and teaching me how to be a friend like him.
Now I’m no longer lonely.