To me, there are few things as lonely as spending a holiday by yourself. I am currently sitting in a gigantic Starbucks in Schaumburg (following the morning church service) and itÕs super-empty for a summer Sunday afternoon. Everybody is undoubtedly out celebrating FatherÕs Day.
Yesterday was my momÕs birthday and I learned this morning that she was only out working in the yard when I called yesterday to wish her a nice day. She said she spent the day with just her and Murray, her 3-year-old chocolate lab who is now her closest companion since her husband died late last year.
Life is lonely when you donÕt have a mate or family around you. Myself, I donÕt even have a close friend that I spend any time with. ThatÕs why IÕm so grateful for the elderly people I live and work with. They are my family, my friends.
What hurts the most is I have no one to share my writings with. I know I have my readers—and God knows I wouldnÕt be alive without the knowledge of you!!!!!—but thereÕs no one to collaborate with, no one to bounce anything off. Worst of all, thereÕs no friend or family member in my day-to-day life who seems to care at all about what IÕm trying to accomplish with my writings. They simply donÕt think about it. ItÕs not important.
I remember once at a Ladies Meeting at church I tried to give out my website address to a long-term church member, after explaining to her I was writing about Shorewood and JordanÕs teachings, and she simply changed the subject on me. No interest.
At another Ladies Meeting this past year, I remember another long-term church member saying as part of her prepared study to the group, ÒIf your best friend is an unsaved person thereÕs something really wrong.Ó
This was the same woman who, when she heard I was looking for a new apartment in the city several years ago, informed me there was a ÒFor RentÓ sign across the street from her Westside condo. When I inquired whether she thought we could be friends if I moved across town to live next to her, she simply said she was very busy with her job and other things and treasured her limited time for privacy.
Last spring I lost the man who I used to think of as my best friend. He died after tumbling backward down a marble staircase and cracking his skull. He was unsaved and I live with the very harsh reality that he is almost without a doubt in hell.
What I miss about him most, if I had to be very honest, is how he seemed to love me as much as he knew how to love any person. He made it clear he loved his wife the most but that I was second (and trust me, it was a platonic friendship).
As much as he wished I wasnÕt devoting my efforts to writing a book about my pastorÕs teachings or the Bible, he encouraged me like no other person ever to be a writer and to give it my all. He thought I had a real talent and it would literally make him cry when I talked negatively about my gift or he thought I was squandering my talents.
He respected that what I wanted to write about was the Bible and Jordan, et al, and even assured me over and over that he would be there to help me financially to get my book finished and published. He would ask me every time I talked to him, ÒHowÕs the writing going?Ó
His biggest request was always that I write from the heart and not worry about what anybody else thought. He wanted me to truly feel free to be myself. He thought MY thoughts were worthy of writing down and it made him mad that I only wanted to write about what other peopleÕs thoughts were (thatÕs the journalist in me).
When I was suicidal the other year, for example, he kept urging me to write about what I was experiencing. As it turns out, IÕve only given brief attention on this website to what was for me a life trial beyond my wildest imagination. I still freak myself out when I think about how absolutely unreal some of the stuff I went through was for me.
The other unsaved friend who is a best friend—and THANK GOD I havenÕt lost him because I couldnÕt make it!!!!—is the man who keeps this website, paying for its upkeep in addition to coming up with all the clever graphics and headlines. IÕve known him since 1991 and heÕs saved my life more than a couple of times when IÕve felt so down I didnÕt know how IÕd go on with life.
This morning, in this same sentimental, sad mood that has come over my like a deluge over the weekend (I blame it in part on my monthly visit from Aunt Flo), I drove by the old Shorewood church building on Neva Avenue near the corner of Harlem and Irving Park on the very edge of the city. I started attending Shorewood in 1991.
So many memories flooded my head, both good ones and bad ones. I have to say sometimes I still feel very lonely at my church and like I donÕt really fit in. In general, I spend a lot of my alone time in this world thinking, ÒOh, if I could just find a friend who was interested in what IÕm writing the way IÕm interested in it. Oh, I wish I had a friend to help me. Please God, help me find a friend to help me.Ó
(EditorÕs Note: To be continued and thanks for bearing with me . . .)