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Posts Tagged ‘Loneliness’

When my kids were young, I would sometimes hear their cries from the bedroom at night. When I would ask what is wrong their response would be, “I’m scared, Momma.” And so I would ask the reason for their fear. Sometimes it was a fear of someone dying, or that their favorite toy was lost, or the dark was too dark, or they just felt scared. I would then sit, or lay, on their bed and say soothing words, sing soft songs. Inevitably, they would soon drift off to sleep.

There was no magic potion that eased them into restful sleep. What my children needed was not so much resolution of their fears, but my presence with them through their fears.

Do you remember times when the presence of someone you loved was the best comfort in the face of fear?

Maybe it was walking home in the dark, as a teenager, after watching a scary movie. Or holding your dad’s arm while walking down the aisle at your wedding (or maybe you were his comfort?). Or that friend who sat with you during chemo treatments. Or the one who held you close as you walked through a great sadness or depression.

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

This Friday, Christians all over the world will walk through the valley, as we remember the sacrifice of Christ for us.

As his body hung on that cross, he was so aware that he was alone. A loneliness that he was born to bare, a loneliness that his divinity did not deserve.

Yet, Jesus, though the fear of the loneliness of the dark overwhelming, showed that he chose the accompaniment of the name above all names.

According to Elicott’s Commentary:

“how it was possible for the Son of Man to feel for one moment that sense of abandonment, which is the last weapon of the Enemy. He tasted of despair as others had tasted, but in the very act of tasting, the words “My God” were as a protest against it, and by them He was delivered from it.”

He spoke the name of his father when he shouted, “”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), and in doing so he declared,

even though I am in pain

even though my heart is heavy

even though I have wrongly been declared guilty

even though I will die a lone being

I will not fear, for you are with me as long as I have breath left to say your name.

The presence of God is there for us all, we need only to call on his name.

 

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I ate them all!

“I try and I try and I try and I try
I can’t get no, I can’t get no
Satisfaction”

It started as a normal Sunday, but by nightfall I had eaten far too much.

Thankfully it had been many weeks, even months, since I had last experienced a day when I went searching for satisfaction through my pantry.

I wasn’t hungry for food, I was simply experiencing dissatisfaction in one part of my existence, and thought that perhaps I could find it through the edibles in my kitchen.

By the time I crawled into bed (with antacids strategically placed on my bed table) I was feeling the crash after a sugar high, my tummy was uncomfortable and my satisfaction … still unsatisfied.

My head hit the pillow with guilt and self disappointment flooding my mind. As I drifted off into my food coma, I pondered why I accepted food as a replacement for what I was really desiring satisfaction from?

I expect we all seek out satisfaction in things or people as replacements for what we truly desire or need. Sometime we turn to exercise, or work, or shopping, or gaming, or reading, or drinking, or drug use, or, or, or …

The list of things we go to for satisfaction is great, individual, and all share the same commonality … they do not satiate our hunger, for we hunger for something greater.

What we often desire is peace, relationship, recreational time, to be heard, solutions to our struggles, health, love.

What we often do is seek replacements to satisfy the voids in our lives, and our hearts. In doing this, we feed our loneliness, our anxiety, our heartache rather than placing it in the hands of one who gives true and full satisfaction.

“For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”
Psalm 107:9

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

 

 

 

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This is the first post in a series, about a woman named Amara. It started as an idea for a short story, and it grew as I grew to love this fictional character. There are 20 parts on my site (linked at the bottom of each segment). This summer I have been re-posting from my first year of blogging, so as to avail my writing time to working on the completion of this story, hopefully in book form. I’d love to know what you think.
CW

As Amara sat behind the steering wheel of her car she got increasingly frustrated.

She looked around her empty front passenger seat for clues as to why she might have driven to this professional building, in the middle of her small town. She could not remember why she drove there, all that she could remember was steering her Oldsmobile into this parking lot. It was as if in turning her wheels towards the lot, her purpose for being there had disappeared completely from her memory.

She tried to look around, hoping to see if something around her might twig her memory as to why she had driven there. Nothing sparked her memory.

Maybe if she retraced her steps, but all she could remember was the moment her front tires turned into this parking lot. ‘Oh, what is happening to me? I cannot even remember any other part of my day, and here it is already eleven in the morning!’ The last thing that Amara could remember was climbing into her bed the night before.

That memory was vivid. The striped bedsheets had felt cool on her skin, as she had climbed into her side of the bed. Her side of the bed … after almost ten years of living without him, she still had her own side of the bed. She started every night there, and she would awaken in the morning, never having passed the invisible center line of the mattress. Once, having given herself a talking to, she purposefully lay in the very middle of the bed … and awoke the next morning where she always awoke, on her side of the bed.

As she pondered thoughts of him Amara’s anxious heart ached for his presence, for his companionship, for his wisdom and laughter in frustrating circumstances like this one. He had a way of seeing a lighter side to the tough stuff of life, and he had a way of lightening any anxiety that she was feeling.

But, he was not here with her, and Amara sat feeling more and more frightened. She wanted to let the tears that were filling her eyes fall down her cheeks, but that would be ludicrous for a woman of seventy-two crying like a baby where anyone could see her.

There must be a sensible reason for this odd bout of forgetfulness …

Unfading – Part 2

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Why do I forget what I know?

Why do I overlook the obvious?

Why do I look for what I need in the wrong places?

Why do I look at all, when what I need is right in front of me?

“A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Proverbs 18:24

3cc4f3db908903d40e74834f0fc5823dWhen we experience disappointment, loss, loneliness, discouragement … and we all will … it is important to remember that we are never alone, and that all that this Earth and life offer (people and things) is dust in the light of what god offers.

We have all had hours, days, weeks, even years when it seems as though there is no hope at all in our life. The future, whether tomorrow of every tomorrow until our last breath, can appear to us to be void of any hope.

But we have it all wrong!

Our hope is not in ourselves or our abilities.

Our hope is not in our families.

Our hope is not in our job.

Our hope is in nothing but Christ.

He is always with us … “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

He is always for us … “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

He is our strength  … “I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

This song came on the radio one day, when hope seemed lost:

“You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It can not hide the light
Whom shall I fear?”

Along with the fitting lyrics of that song, were the words I had written on My Loves page, Numero-Uno. It was a good reminder to me that my hope is not in anyone, but Christ.

The words of that page were written on a ‘good’ day, but they are true for every day!

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This is another the final post in a series, about a woman named Amara. Every Friday I will post another segment in this story. Today is the final segment that will be added to this series on my blog. This summer I will be editing and adding to this story, in preparation for publication (hopefully) by the end of summer. When it is completed, and ready for purchase, I will provide information on my blog. I have enjoyed getting to know Amara, Joy and their family, thanks for walking this journey through their story!

Joy watched Joe and Jilly walk slowly down the corridor of the hospital, then disappear as they turned the corner to the elevator.

She let out an audible sigh.

“It sounds like you have more on your mind than just your mother.”

Joy turned quickly to face Dr. Lewis, who had such a gentle, grandfatherly face. Joy was certain that he was most sincere in his concern about what was occupying her thoughts.

“Oh, Dr. Lewis, it has been a stressful time, and so much has happened in just the past week.” Joy said, trying to be both honest, and not fully transparent at the same time.

Dr. Lewis nodded knowingly, but only knowing of the stresses of her mother’s events in that time. He reached into his pocket,  pulled out a prescription pad, and scratched something onto it.

“If you need anything,” he paused, ensuring that Joy was fully engaged in his eye contact with her, ” I mean anything,” he sounded so lovingly firm, yet concerned. “You call this number, and I will return your call before you can hang up your phone. The healer is only helpful if she has a place to go for strength,” and he placed the paper in Joy’s hand, and held it for a moment. Then he smiled, and walked towards the elevator.

Joy watched him for a long time, thinking how she had not been cared for by a father figure for a long time. She missed her father deeply in that moment, and as the doctor turned the corner towards the elevator, tears flooded from her eyes. She could feel the weight that on her shoulders, causing them to sag.

I must keep moving, Joy told herself. She took a deep breath in, and held it for a moment before forcing it out again, ever so slowly.

Then she turned towards her mother’s room, and walked determinedly towards it, where she stopped, took another breath, and slowly, ever so slowly pushed the door so that she could peek in.

Jessica was still curled up on the bed beside her mother, both with their eyes closed. Joy took in the picture before her as she had with the breaths of air … whole, fully, and not wanting to let the image go, in fear that she might never get it back again. It was a beautiful, peaceful image before her. One that put her at ease, at rest, simply by being a voyeur to the intimate moment so close to her, and yet she was so removed from it.

As beautiful at the image was, as peaceful at it was to look upon, Joy felt such regret that it was not she who her mother desired to be close to. As she deeply felt that regret, she also knew that she had been pushing her mother away from her for most of her life. Maybe, at some level, Joy had been punishing her mother for the choice she had to make all those years ago, to give her time and attention to her dying son. Now, as an adult and a mother, she considered what she might have done? What other choice did her mother have, but to leave her healthy daughter’s care to her own parents, so that she might be able to care for her desperately ill son?

Joy so wanted to walk over and embrace her mother, but she could not face the possible rejection that could very well be the response from her mother.

She stared longingly at the pair on the bed, when Amara’s eyes opened, and looked to Jessica.

“Oh my sweet little one, you look so lovely when you sleep,” Amara said, to Jessica, as she continued to embrace the child’s head with her hand. “You fill my heart with love. You make me smile. You are the answer to my prayers.”

Joy could feel tears welling up in her eyes.

Jessica moved in her sleep, closer to Amara, who was smiling with great satisfaction the closer Jessica got to her.

“Oh my sweet, sweet little girl. You bring me such … ” and Amara stopped speaking for just a moment, just long enough to kiss the top of her head. “That is why I called you, Joy.”

The tears that had been welling in Joy’s eyes were now loosed by the realization that her mother did not think that she was holding her granddaughter … but her daughter.

Unfading – Part 1

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This is another post in a series, about a woman named Amara. Every Friday I will post another segment in this story.

When Joe and Jilly got home from the hospital, Joe realized, for the first time since getting into the car, that he had been so pre-occupied in his own thoughts, he had forgotten that Jilly was with him. As he looked to the passenger seat, he smiled, as Jilly was sleeping peacefully.

How she had grown, from the little girl he often still thought of her as. She reminded Joe of his own mother, with her long eyelashes, chestnut hair, and petite nose. He missed his mother, and wished the Jilly could have known the woman who she resembled most.

Joe unlocked and opened the door from the garage to the house. He then, carefully, opened the passenger door, and lifted Jilly into his arms. He carried her to her room, when he lay her on her bed, and covered her with a quilt. He looked again at his firstborn and noticed how, her sleeping state reminded him of the many times he had carried her from a vehicle in the garage when she was little. The memories caused a smile to spread across his face, as he realized how fortunate a man he was, how blessed a man he was.

He walked from her room with a goal in mind, and now was the time to get going on it.

Joe walked into the small office in their home, and sat in the large, comfortable chair, as he reached in his pocket for his cell phone.

He clicked on the text button, and read, again, the text that Roxanne had sent, the text that Joy had read, the text that may have changed his life forever.

“Call me, I NEED to talk with you about a ‘business trip’ I am proposing. You owe me big time for leaving just when we were so close 😉 . Roxanne” Joe read it over again, and again, and again. Then he realized that this text, and that Roxanne herself, were not responsible for changing his life, his choices over the past months were where the responsibility lay. He chose poorly, and he had to accept that responsibility if he would ever be able to look Joy in the face again, if he were ever to even hope that she might accept his repentance.

When he located Roxanne’s number, identified as R. Baker, he looked at the time, but then realized that it was now or never.

As Joe heard the ringing of Roxanne’s phone, he realized he had not rehearsed anything to say, and started to panic, as he pondered hanging up. Just as he was about to lose his nerve, a familiar voice answered, “well now, I was beginning to think that you were never going to speak to me again.” Joe could almost see her cheeky smile as she spoke, but it did not have the same euphoric affect on him this time.

“Roxanne, I need to talk with you,” Joe was plunging in with both feet, and he wasn’t going to back down.

“Oh Joe, of course you need to talk with me, after all, we are partners … well, we were almost partners,” Roxanne said, with a giggle that insinuated the path that they had been following.

“Roxanne, it is very important that I get this all out, before I lose my nerve,” Joe took a deep breath, then proceeded.

“I need to apologize to you. I have been so wrong in pursuing this relationship with you. My marriage vows to my wife should have meant more to me than my actions have showed. I never should have kissed you …” Joe stopped and realized that there was more “… I never should have even thought of it. I want you to know that I was the one who blew it, not my wife. She could not have pushed me away if I had not been so easily swayed. Roxanne, I plan to put every effort into my marriage. I will die trying to prove that I have learned my lesson, and that I am fully and completely committed to my wife and our marriage together.”

Joe was done, everything that needed to be said, he had said, except … “good bye Roxanne. Please forgive me for bringing you into this sin of my own doing,” and with that, he hung up the phone. He looked out the window onto the front garden. It seemed as though he had never seen it in such detail before this moment. He had a goal, and it was one that he was going to do everything in his power to achieve.

He was going to win back the heart of the woman that he had hurt, deceived and broken.

Now, if only she would allow herself to open her heart up to him again? Then Joe pondered to himself, if I knew this whole story, and I was not the offending me, would I advise her to give me a second chance?

Joe sighed a deep sign, realizing that this was going to be far more difficult than he might imagine.

Unfading – Part 1

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This is another post in a series, about a woman named Amara. Every Friday I will post another segment in this story.

“Jessica!”

Joy, Joe and Jilly were all calling out her name, when a nurse came over and asked them what was going on. She was kind, but it was obvious that yelling out their daughter and sister’s name in a hospital was not an acceptable thing to do.

“Our daughter is missing, and she is only five years old,” Joe said with a voice absent of any confidence.

“Do you have a photo of her that I can share with the others on this unit, and then maybe we can help you to locate her?” She asked, with great sympathy for the fear that was written over all of their faces.

“I have one in my wallet,” Joe quickly responded while searching for the photo. When he pulled it out, there were three other photos that came tumbling out of his wallet at the same time. The one of Jessica, that he had been seeking in the beginning, followed by one of Jilly, one of Joy and one of their whole family taken last Christmas.

Joy frowned as she picked them off the hospital floor. She had no idea that Joe might have pictures of them on his phone, let alone physical photos in his wallet.

She looked at the the photo of herself, one she had given Joe when they were first married “to look at when he had to be away on business, and they spoke on the phone. So that it was just like they were together when they were apart,” was what Joy had said. Then the one from this past Christmas … everyone smiling, but the unhappiness evident to Joy, as she looked at the perfect, but posed smiles of she and Joe. Jilly had changed so much already, in just a few short months, as adolescents was transforming her from the inside out. And Jilly, that beautiful, innocent smile, so full of joy. Oh, where was Jilly?

The nurse took the photo, photocopied it, and shared it with the nurses and any other hospital employees, including Dr. Lewis, who had still been on the unit, and a search ensued. Joy wandered the halls of the unit, aimlessly.

“I found her,” Jilly’s excited voice echoed down the halls of the hospital unit.

Everyone who heard her voice came running to where she was standing. Through the window of the door of room 201 was a most serene and touching scene. Little Jessica, snuggled up on the bed beside her grandmother. Amara’s arms were wrapped tightly around her, while she petted the top of Jessica’s head.

As Joy slowly opened the door, her heart almost stopped, as she heard a familiar tune being sung by her mother:

“Longing for you all the while, More and more;
Longing for the sunny smile, I adore;
Birds are singing far and near, Roses blooming ev’rywhere
You, alone, my heart can cheer; You, just you.
Let me call you “Sweetheart,” I’m in love with you.
Let me hear you whisper that you love me too.
Keep the love-light glowing in your eyes so true.
Let me call you “Sweetheart,” I’m in love with you.”

Joy was instantly transformed to another time and place. She was back in that special place in the clearing in the woods. Her mother and father, she and Jacob, relaxing and enjoying special family time, after their picnic lunch. Her father standing up, and extending his hand to her mother, who blushed. She took his hand, and he led her in a dance on that grassy, sunlit space, that became the dance floor of a beautiful ballroom. Joy could almost hear her father humming the song, as he plead her mother with his eyes to sing the words … and she did. Then he held her even more closely, as the two of them slipped into a place that was intimately theirs.

Jacob and Joy did not even respond as children often do, with groans and gagging, as their parents showed loving affection for each other in front of them. Even they, at their young ages, were swept up in the moment of beauty, of love, and of a magic that children rarely get a glimpse of anymore.

Amara’s voice was beautiful, solid, and confident. She had a voice like Kate Smith, that sounded like every part of her being was singing along with her voice.

Joy remembered her trip to Disney World, with her grandparents, and how every princess seemed to sound like her mother’s soothing, beautiful voice.

That song that Amara was singing to little Jessica, was the one that Joy had heard all through her childhood. Hearing it now took her back to not only that day in the clearing in the woods, but also to times Joy had forgotten about. Times when Joy was held on her mother’s lap, as a very young girl, and her mother would sing to her. She sang it when Joy was sad, she sang it when Joy was happy. She sang it when Jacob was dying. She sang it when Joy’s grandfather died … but, she never sang it when Joy’s grandmother, her mother’s mother, died. As a matter of fact, Joy could not remember her mother ever singing that song again … until now, in her hospital bed, with her youngest granddaughter in her arms.

Joy felt Joe’s hand on her shoulder, and the magic was gone.

Joy needed to get freed from Joe’s touch. It felt like sandpaper on her soul.

She turned around to see Dr. Lewis standing just off to the side, from where the group of people were watching little Jessica curled up with her grandmother.

“Dr. Lewis, why is my mother not upset about my daughter’s presence? She screamed when her other granddaughter entered the room, and she screamed when I was there, as though she did not know us. Why is she not bothered by Jessica’s presence?”

Joy hoped that what she was feeling was not evident in her question. That feeling was envy. She was ashamed to be feeling envious of her own daughter, but, after-all, she was Amara’s own daughter! Why did she not remember Joy, but she remembered Jessica?

“I really do not know the answer to that,” Dr. Lewis replied. “It could be that she is have a moment where her memory of the present time is clear again. It could be that she is reliving the past with your daughter, seeing her as someone else. Alzheimers is not a predictable disease. The amazing thing is that she is singing clearly, the garbled speech is not at all present right now, and that might be a good indicator in relation to her recent stroke.”

Oh, a bright light! Joy thought to herself. She had not even realized this change when she first heard her mother’s voice. Maybe her mother would recover, and go back home after-all.

“I think that it might be best if we do not disturb them, “said Dr. Lewis. “Joy, if you could stay close. Maybe you could quietly move into the room, just in case your mother’s memory slips, and she scares your daughter.”

“Of course,” Joy said, glad to have something that she could do.

“Is there any danger for Jessica being there?” Joe said, shaking Joy.

“I do not believe so,” the doctor said confidently. “The concern is more for how your mother’s response might scare your daughter. She is really too weak, physically, to hurt your daughter.”

Joy breathed a sigh of relief, and looked at Jilly, noticing how young she looked for a change. Adolescence seemed to have meant the every day she looked older, taller, more like a woman. But right now, the fear in her eyes made her seem more a child than a young woman.

“Jilly, how about you and your father go home, or do something fun together? I will call you as soon as something changes.” Joy could see that Jilly was looking so sad, so lost.

Jilly motioned her mother aside to speak to her privately. “Momma, why does Nanna remember Jessica, but she screamed when she saw me?” Jilly’s tear-filled eyes spilled down her cheeks.

Joy quickly wrapped her arms around her child of adult body, but child-like heart and mind. “Oh sweetie, I know how you feel. Nanna screamed at me too.” Joy’s own tear-filled eyes spilled over as well. “I don’t understand this any better than you do. All I know is that it hurts so much.”

As they stood there, sobbing in each others arms, Joe came over to them. He placed his arms around them both.

Joy quickly moved away from his touch, and placed a hand on each cheek of Jilly’s face, “you go home with your father, and I promise, I will call you as soon as I know something.”

Jilly nodded, wordlessly, and took a deep breath.

Joe was very aware that Joy was not talking to him, that she was not wanting his touch, his words … his presence. He knew that what she had read on his phone had created a flood of imagination in her mind of what might have gone on. He knew that he had killed a part of her, and that with it, a part of ‘them’ had died as well.

And he knew, then and there, that what he had not done did not make him innocent, because he knew, as Joy knew, that in his heart, he had replaced her with another. He knew, what he had not realized in the months of ‘innocent’ conversations, that he was guilty of emotional unfaithfulness, and that may have drive the final nail on the coffin of Joy’s ability to love him ever again.

Unfading – Part 1

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