Friday, March 09, 2007

Feeling very human today

Disappointed. Forgotten.
Lonely. A lot of loneliness.
Sad. Surrounded by sad and lonely and disappointed people.

I've been doing a lot of reading and writing in my journal. I've been doing a lot of blogging. Talking on the telephone a fair amount. I taught the class at church on Wednesday night; it went swimmingly. Kristiana and I went out to dinner with another mother-daughter pair last night. Then she and I roamed around the mall, shared a cup of tea, and talked about all kinds of great things. I am blessed, indeed.

But I am also lonely a lot of the time. It's a loneliness that aches for a kindred spirit to share my deepest, truest, most intimate secrets, hopes, thoughts, dreams, and crazy ideas with. Someone who listens. Laughs when I laugh. Cries when I cry. Someone who shares. Someone whose tears and laughter I get to share.

It's not that I don't have a generous, loving, ridiculously tolerant husband. Most of the time, however, my husband is either at work, at a sporting event of some kind, or preparing for work or a sporting event of some kind. Much of the rest of the time, he is recovering from work or some sporting event. There just isn't much time these days for laughing, crying, or sharing secrets. He's a good man who tries to be a good husband and father. But there are places in me that he doesn't understand, cannot reach, and may not even know exist. So the loneliness persists.

It's not that I don't have friends. I have great friends. Friends who call sometimes. Friends who write sometimes. Most of the time, however, my friends, whether they are right here in Charlotte or thousands of miles away on distant shores, feel impossibly far away. Most of the time, however, my friends are too busy living their own lives to have time to call or write.

I reach out with phone calls, text messages, emails, and snail mail. I blog. I respond to other people's blogs. Most people don't acknowledge my efforts. It's hard not to, but I really don't blame them. I don't blame you. Life happens.

But still...

I know that no single person can be my everything. I know that everyone in the world feels the loneliness I describe here. It's part of being human.

For better or for worse,
I've had snatches of glory.
Moments of deep soul connections.
When words have hardly been necessary
because the soul has been sighted
and not a word needs to be spoken aloud.

I've shared silent car rides when more was spoken than in hours of conversation. I've shared silent sunsets by the sea. I've had glimpses of grandeur in gargantuan cathedrals in Italy and tiny village churches in Spain. I've received emails, telephone calls, and cards that moved me to tears and left indelible yet tender fingerprints on the walls in the deepest, darkest caverns of my soul.

But the car rides end and real life begins again. The sun sets and the evening chill drives us indoors. The day of my return trip arrives and photos don't do the memories justice. The correspondence stops. Despondence starts.

Silence can be golden.
It can also be leaden.

I am left feeling alone.
Feeling human.

Having to endure a mammogram later this afternoon
isn't helping my mood either.

My name is Gail, and I'm human.

Addendum at 6:00 PM
My mammogram went smashingly... literally and figuratively.
All is well with the mammary glands.

The Presbyterian Breast Center has the odd practice of calling its patients from one waiting room and putting them/us into another inner waiting room. Silence reigned. The only sound in the room was that of my pen scratching the page of my journal.

I couldn't stand it, so I looked around sheepishly and queried, "Do we like this inner waiting room any more than the outer one?" Everyone laughed; the tension lessened palpably.

The woman to my left, who appeared to be about my age, was soon handed a large manila envelope and told that she was done.

When her name was called, the black woman sitting low in her chair directly across from me, wig slightly askew, strained visibly to hoist herself from her seat; Stephanie will be on my prayer list for a good long while to come.

A very young woman, who I later found out was named Lauren, and I were left alone to await our fates. The weighty curtain of silence fell again. I lifted it when I asked her if it was her first mammogram. She said that she'd found a lump in one breast and was there for a second opinion. The first doctor had told her to wait six months and see if the lump resolved itself. I nodded my head vehemently in agreement when she said that she would never be able to wait that long. She, her husband, her mother, and I all hope that it is simply a cyst brought on by her monthly cycle.

Each of us. There. Waiting.
Boob sandwiches on the menu.
Alone.

I figured that if we had to be there, alone,
why not form a temporary platoon,
a small band of determined, undaunted soldiers
in the war against not only cancer,
but also fear, silence, and loneliness?
Why not be comrades in arms and laughter,
even if our bond lasted but a moment or two?

I feel less alone now.

Fight on, ladies.
Fight on.

3 comments:

Nancy said...

DEAR Gail,
I am so often moved or touched in some way by the things you write. This post has touched the deepest place in my heart. That place that aches with a lonliness that probably no one knows I feel. It's a feeling more familiar than any other I could name. Hubby can be in the other room watching TV and I can be here aching in a way that he couldn't fathom even if he was aware. Sometimes I wonder, why is this my reality? As I get older and become more comfortable with myself and the skin I live in, I feel the pain less, yet am aware that it's always there to one extent or another. Sometimes I pray, "what am I supposed to do with this?" I know that I am never alone; I know that the One who made me and called me and redeemed me is with me always....but still...yes, I too am so very human.
Peace to you, dear sister.
N.

rys said...

I realize this post is very old, but I wanted to say that I identify with everything that you said in this post...why is it we feel so ashamed to admit these feelings? Even to our closest friends..if you would ever care to correspond as strangers, I would sure appreciate it. :)

GailNHB said...

Thanks, Rys, for your thoughtful comment. It can be tough to admit our feelings of loneliness, but once we do, we always find folks who are willing to walk with us. Sure, we can correspond. I suspect we won't be strangers for long... Email me anytime.