"LONELINESS whispered quietly in my heart at times, especially once I had to accept that I could no longer work at the shop, nor participate in certain social activities. The flurry of interaction which had been present on a daily basis diminished rapidly. Being in the hub of activity was no longer possible and I missed it a great deal, particularly in the first three years following the accident." ~©Kathleen M. Pritchard
[Excerpt from my book Worthy In His Eyes: Part Three: Valley of Emotional Turmoil...Chapter Five: OVERCOMING LONELINESS]
LOOKING BACK: One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that TIME is a great friend. It opens doors for reflection and ways to learn to cope and adapt. It also is also a growing platform for courage, patience and trust in God that He has a far greater plan for our life than what we can see "in the moment."
It is also a season when "brothers and sisters" who are committed to "being there" when they are needed the most, jump into our storm of life as if it were their own. No questions, no judgments, no conditions. Only simple, wonderful and unconditional love that says, "I'm here for you, no matter what life brings your way." Unconditional love will never wander.
During the past 14 years, our interaction with others has gradually evolved. We have had to experiment beginning with one on one visits, attending weddings but not wedding receptions, attending church but arriving just prior to the message and a whole host of other adaptations. Each stepping stone is tentatively tried out for stability. If it feels precarious, we wait until it settles into a firmer foundation of probability.
There is a growing fullness taking place in our lives as we learn what works and what is too much. Sometimes, I misjudge and pay the price for an unwise choice. Sometimes I choose to attend something which is way out of my comfort zone because of my love for someone else but I only do this if Kip is present. He can "read me" well and we are able to slip away when I become overwhelmed. And sometimes, I may retreat to someone's bedroom or family room to "recharge" my brain with some peace and quiet enabling Kip to remain and enjoy the festivities. That's often a priority for me--doing everything I can so he doesn't have to miss out. He never complains or minds when we have to shorten a stay etc. but for my part, I want to do all I can to let him enjoy gatherings in a "normal way." Don't be afraid to mention your needs quietly to a host---we have discovered that very few mind me doing this. In fact, they are extremely supportive of our honesty, and glad we are comfortable sharing this with them instead of not attending at all.
Loneliness doesn't overshadow my days anymore. God has been teaching me so much and I have become an eager student. Reaching out to others [that's in another chapter!], pacing myself, challenging myself [in a healthy way] are all pro-active ways to snuff loneliness out. But solid, trustworthy and dependable relationships are life's greatest treasures. They remind me that our bond is concrete and priceless. Nothing can sever what we share. Just like my relationship with my Lord.
I cannot finish before emphasizing the truth and importance of Christ's words in John 16:32, "Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me." [John 16:32 NIV] All I need to do is whisper His name and I feel His Presence with me, through the Holy Spirit, eliminating any loneliness. And those He brings into my life are valuable jewels which sparkle and shine, dispelling any shadow of isolation.
So hang in there, particularly if you are experiencing a newly acquired disability which has isolated you from many of the things you love to do. Be honest with those around you, those you love and cherish. Keep trusting God to lead you and them to a fullness of life together again, even if it has to be through alternate or different means. Continue to be as pro-active as you can be--don't give "excuses" but share valid limitations.
Your world may shrink because of newly acquired limitations but there are those who will gladly walk the journey alongside of you, just as they always have. And, new friendships will develop. These are the jewels in your treasure-chest of life. They love you for YOU. Embrace them. Cherish them.
"There are "friends" who destroy each other; but a real friend sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24 NLT
Blessings on your journey......
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