Here’s an excerpt from my forthcoming bestseller, tentatively titled “Harriet Was My Wife”. I would appreciate your prayers for me as I press on to have this completed and in print.
The songwriter had to ask the question “Have you ever been lonely? Have you ever been blue?” And I confess, I have been tempted to ask that question myself. I wonder if others know real loneliness. I don’t mean the kind of loneliness you get when you are away from friends or family or someone you love and are forced to be separated from them for a while. Everyone must experience that kind of loneliness at one time or other.
But that is not the kind of loneliness I’m talking about. I mean the kind of loneliness you can feel even in a crowd. The kind that makes itself known even when you are with some of those you love and who love you. The kind that reaches up and nags and gnaws on you where no one else can see even though they sit with you.
It is an invisible loneliness. One you can’t get your hands on or give a reason for. The kind that buries itself way down inside the depths of your soul. Just out of reach, hiding just out of sight, just beyond reach of your deliberate consciousness. Seldom does it completely enfold you in its dark, ugly arms and smother you in a bear hug. It is more like a cold hand that grasps at your heart and tugs with a subtle but insistent pull.
Sadistic loneliness. In its own cruel way, it blows its icy breath thru your very guts in some of the most unlikely times and unexpected places. And seldom if ever, where you would most expect it. Never when you are out in the boat on the lake alone fishing. Not when you sit at the top of the rugged mountain trail where you have hiked above and beyond all other human companionship. Not on the empty road driving alone at night. Not even when you are alone in your own bed reading a good book after midnight.
This cursed loneliness catches you in the crowd of laughing, happy people. It assaults you when visiting with friends. It even stabs you as you sit with family.
It is the loneliness of a soul that longs for a soul. A soul of like spirit and mind. A soul with which to commune at the deepest level of existence. A soul with whom your soul can be free and open and real.
I have wondered if anyone else knows the kind of loneliness with which I sometimes feel like I have become a friend. If not a friend, at least more than a casual acquaintance.
And then I found this poem. It was in some papers my Mother had of her mother’s. In my grandmother’s distinctive handwriting she had copied these lines:
“Oh, the comfort -the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person. Having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words – but pouring them all right out just as they are -chaff and grain together -certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” – Dinah Maria Mulock Craik