“I feel so lonely”… my son just told me yesterday on the way home from school.
He is currently 15 … AND A HALF (I am told to mention). From birth, I knew something wasn’t “right.” He was diagnosed at 18 months with severe asthma and allergies, digestive complications, developmental delay, and immune system abnormalities. We almost lost him more than once. Then at three, Jon was diagnosed with typical autism (originally titled Kanner’s syndrome) and mental retardation. For the next 5 years, I sat in many lonely places … hospitals and waiting rooms, my bedroom, doctor’s offices … sometimes loneliness was pervasive. But such was the road when following all the “early interventions” and promising treatments. Then at age 7, Jon regressed so significantly and no one could explain why. We returned to all the terminal and genetic testing, studies, and more. Then the additional diagnosis included Global developmental disorder, seizure disorder, severe Tourette’s syndrome, ADHD, OCD, ODD, global anxiety and trauma, unspecified but present brain abnormalities, and then some.
If my car could talk, it would tell you I’ve gushed tears and yelled at God more than once; and it would tell you that day in early June there was a lot of gushing and yelling going on. Rarely have I felt so alone. Having hoped in God and every form of help, what happened?
In Dr. Norm Wright’s book Experiencing Grief he says, “Loneliness brings with it a sense of not belonging…a wilderness so vast and rugged that you lose all sense of direction” (pg 36).
I lost my sense of direction. It’s come back, but it took time, lots of talks with God, letting grief speak when there are no words, mercy from others, and professional help.
Our stories may be different, but I understand the experience and I’m here to speak hope into that vacant, vacuous space you may be living in.
To begin, I offer some words that connect to being lost or lonely. Do any of these ring true … isolated, angry, exhausted, confused, like life is over, conflicted, guilty, burdened, cannot sleep, saturated with worry, doubting everything about the faith you believed was sturdy, physically breaking down, suddenly filled with anguish and begin to cry, longing for the life you had, wanting to escape, hating everyone for not understanding? You are NOT alone. When we are lost, our feelings go nuts.
Next, I want to affirm you. I applaud you for seeking this page, I admire your courage, your endurance, and your belief that life isn’t over. I promise…your life will change in ways never expected and you will be filled with unexplainable strength, mercy, gratitude, and thankfulness. I could never be who I am today were it not for the shattering and necessary losses.
Next, always remember you have choices to make every day … even in the midst of countless demands. For example, you choose your attitude, you choose forgiveness or bitterness, resentment or acceptance, humility or pride, to depend on truth or yourself or society, to seek or reject help, to grieve or deny, to learn and grow or shut down and give up, to be a victim or to step up.
The one choice I made that changed everything is to finally accept what God had allowed, release my plans and ways, and embrace Christ and His truth totally. The one choice has made my life full of passion and hope. I want that for you, too. It takes time, but it is a pivotal decision you alone have to make.
God is sovereign, full of grace and mercy, never breaks His promises though we may feel otherwise at times, never sleeps or slumbers, and is close to the brokenhearted. Because I’ve chosen to believe His truth found in the Bible, life is full again.
My son and I talked about feeling lonely yesterday. We talked about choices in a way I hoped he could understand, and we ended with telling God-out loud, in the car-that Jon was lonely and we knew Jesus understood because He was lonely too. We asked the Lord to bring comfort, to help us learn and become wiser, and we cried because loneliness is painful. If you need to talk or have someone listen, please connect with me … or with any of the writers here. We are here to bring you hope … You are not alone.