“Hi, I’m at the store and want to buy this plaque really, really bad. I want you to talk me out of it,” I phoned my husband.
“What? Well, what does it say?”
“It is shaped like a dog biscuit and it says, ‘The more people I meet, the more I like my DOG.'”
He laughed. “That’s a good one. Why do you want me to talk you out of it?”
“Because that’s exactly how I feel right now, but don’t think we need the plaque. So talk me out of it. Juts say something like, Honey; we don’t need one more plaque.”
“Oh, go ahead and buy it,” he said.
“You’re not helping, here.”
“Seriously, go ahead and buy it. After what you have been through, I think you deserve it. “
And so now it hangs right above my dining room doorway.
Most of us get fed up with people at one time or another in our lives.
It had been only a couple of months after my 27 year old son’s death, and I was overwhelmed with certain impossible-to-deal-with family member’s misconceptions, ignorant judgments and attitudes, ludicrous personal attacks, and opposing behavior about the way I was handling the estate. Everywhere I turned I was met with friction.
When things are excruciatingly painful, some of us feel safer on our own, because then we don’t have to dodge others’ spiteful attitudes, words or conduct. The biggest heartache is when the person we live with is the one causing the wounding. Even then, we distract ourselves from our pain by burying ourselves in work, hobbies, activities, or even meaningful services that cushion our minds from the emptiness we feel inside. All those work for a while, but in the wee hours of the morning we lay in bed feeling a hollow emptiness.
I remember another specific time in my life when I felt alienated from everybody. After struggling as a single mom, my kids were suddenly grown, moved out, and involved in their own lives with little time for me. My identity had been tied up in raising them. I had no idea who I really was and had no family to draw comfort from. Because so much of my childhood wounding was caused by the important women in my life: my distant mom, aunt, and grandmother, all those who were supposed to love me; I had a very hard time trusting women and was weary of the self-centeredness I found in most men.
The only living creatures I felt safe turning to were pets and plants.
The world continued turning around me, but it was as if I was on a deserted island with waves crashing in on every side and heavy winds blowing. Without anyone to trust, I never shared how empty and lonely I felt. I kept it to myself and suffered in silence.
I not only gave up on feeling loved, but I gave up on any possibilities of being loved.
I’d anguish on my own, causing more damage to my already broken heart, and lost the desire to be around people. I imagined someday I’d be one of those little old ladies who lives with five dogs and eight cats. Pets bring us comfort and companionship without cruel sarcasm, backstabbing, lying, deceit, negative drama, gossip, or wrongful judgment. They love you unconditionally.
I wish I understood then how important it was to turn to the Lord, but because of my own anguish and frustration at God, I alienated myself from Him also.
God created us to be relational. He, a relational God, created us in His image. He wants us to have a relationship with each other as well as with Him.
That’s one of the reasons why in Genesis 2:18 He said. “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make Him a helpmate” or helper. Some people think that making woman to be man’s helper is a put down. But God refers to Himself through the Holy Spirit as our Helper in John 14:26.
It doesn’t seem so offensive when we think of it in those terms does it?
Though the Bible clearly says that we need each other, 1: Cor 12:21 “The eye cannot say to the hand ‘I don’t need you!’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you!”’ I was indeed telling my heart I didn’t need anyone.
When we alienate ourselves, we can become much too self-sufficient. There’s no one to bounce things off of and to help keep us in check. We become like a ship with a broken rudder that floats aimlessly and bangs and bounces off any obstacle in its way. And usually, we are our worst obstacle.
For me it’s comfortable to be alone. But isolation is not a healthy thing because it’s when we are most vulnerable, that our spiritual enemy plants big trees of self-doubt and faith-doubt. And without anyone around to encourage us, we drown ourselves with the voices of accusation of our own defeating thoughts.
Proverbs 12:15 “The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.”
Proverbs 28:26 “Whoever trusts in himself is foolish, but whoever lives wisely will be kept safe.”
After a while we begin to rely only on our own advice, and our twisted thinking becomes our reality. We begin to believe all the negative words we tell ourselves. The enemy is more than happy to confirm them.
Hebrews 3:13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
There is no growth. We stagnate.
I began to believe:
That no one loved me.
That the rest of my life would be painfully lonely.
That God was just as fed up with me as I was.
That if I died, no one would care enough to notice for a very long time.
Proverbs 18:24 “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Genuinely loving people in one’s life are the greatest treasure one can have besides the Lord, as sometimes even family can not only be our weakest ally, but our strongest opponent. At critical times, relationships with healthy and caring people can offer real comfort, counsel, and strength to help us walk the jagged roads.
Ecclesiastes 4:10 “If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”
Proverbs 15:22 “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.”
Proverbs 20:5 “A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.”
Friendship also offers us healing, encouragement and motivation to keep going when we want to give up,
Proverbs 12:18 “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Friends offer us counsel by word and example. A true friend will even confront us to keep us accountable when we stray in the wrong direction. Though the confrontation may be unwelcomed initially, if our friends genuinely love us, they will patiently help us see where we are making our mistakes.
Proverbs 17:10 “A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool.”
Care to share of a time you could have used help, but chose to handle things yourself because you had been so badly hurt?
By ~ Elizabeth Yalian 2014 ©http://hiseyeisonthissparrow.com.
13 responses to “One is the Loneliest Number”
Absolutely beautiful. I can totally relate and have isolated myself like this when the world and all it’s weight seemed to come crashing down on me. You are right that God does not want us to be alone. Just sometimes, alone time is what we need to get through the pain till we can function again as God brings healing and restoration for us to continue. Thanks for sharing your story and many blessings to you…
Thank you, secretangel. Alone time is good and helps us in healing. In my case, I prolonged my isolation to the point of dreading being around people at all and that is not very healthy. The key is to have loving people in one’s life. God made me aware of the book Safe People through a study and boy has it been an eye opener on not only “unsafe” characteristics in people to be on the lookout for, but also how I myself can be more of a “safe” person for others with healthier characteristics. As His Word says, above all else we must guard our hearts. Proverbs 4:23
Amen. I can totally relate. May God pour out His blessings onto you, my friend.
Blessings to you! 🙂
I just cried when I read this. It always surprises me how much I relate to your posts. I can’t really publicly say why, but I do. I find comfort in that. I’ve been pretty absent from the blogging world, but when I do take time to try to catch up, your blog is one I will always come to.
And I can totally relate to the pet thing. Some days my dogs are the only affection I get (my husband works out of town for weeks and months at a time, so it’s not his fault. Lol).
I can’t relate to the plant thing. I can’t be trusted with plants, though I desperately long for a green thumb.
Thank you for sharing your heart, and God’s love. You never know whose heart you are touching. Except you know you touched mine now. 🙂
Rhonda, you usually leave such touching comments! 🙂
I did notice you have not been around the blogashphere much. Hope all is okay.
I believe God has given us pets to comfort us those times others are not able to. It would be hard to have your spouse gone so much.
I know what you mean re: the green thumb, try growing Irises and radishes. They are almost impossible to kill. I also know dandilions are pretty hardy and easy to grow, we seem to have a steady supply of them every year at our house, and you can eat their leaves and make tasty tea with them. LOL 🙂
May God bless you and shower you with sunshine.
If we could just love as our dogs love: They don’t judge. They are excited to see us EVERY time we walk in the door. They listen. They don’t expect anything from us but are appreciative when we give. . .
We could learn a lot from our dogs (or other pets) about how to show love to people around us.
That’s why I love my two little dogs. They are always so eager to welcome me, regardless of how long I have left them for. I think in some ways their unconditional love reflects God’s own love. It is He who created them with such a warm and loving nature after all! I agree that their capacity to forgive and love us regardless of what mood we in are serves as a great role model for us.
Elizabeth, what a beautifully sad post. Praying comfort for your pain. You have drawn living water out of your pain to share with and comfort others. Perfect timing. Thank you and God bless xxx
Thank you, sometimes that living water has to be drawn out drop by drop, but it is always refreshingly life giving. 🙂
And sometimes painfully squeezed out …