My friend sat across from me with tears welling up in his eyes. The sad loneliness written on his face was almost too much for me to bear. It was as if I could feel every molecule making up his person screaming for relief.
“My wife has left me,” he almost whispered. “My best friend came and he just swept her away! Now I don’t know what to do. I feel so lost and lonely. I didn’t know such pain existed!”
His words spoke directly to my heart by way of empathy. I was feeling things I hadn’t felt for many years, not since the emptiness created by the divorce of my parents. I recognized his agony and lonely feelings. They transported me back and my once-experienced desperation exploded into the present. Yet, I was relieved, with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude to be sharing with him right then.
My empathy somehow created a different meaning for my pain. It gave it an emerging usefulness just discovered. I now knew that my own heartache and its associated discoveries could be used for good. For the first time, the hard-earned discoveries of my youth would make a larger difference. I could share them for my friend’s benefit. Perhaps they can benefit you as well.
First, pain doesn’t require loneliness. When many people are emotionally injured they withdraw into themselves. Unfortunately, when this choice is made, the cure becomes obscure and often lost forever. It can lead to unrelenting feelings of isolation.
Second, such feelings of isolation from seclusion are the enemy of healing. When I say enemy, I mean just that. It leads one to begin to believe that everyone is his or her enemy. It is insidious in its assault on the human soul. At the very least, it leads to a deepening, perpetual loneliness.
Third, deep loneliness can cause even the strongest amongst us to shed core values in exchange for personal acceptance in a quest for false happiness.
“He’s not really that way.”
“I can see the good in her.”
“I can change him.”
Loneliness has the ability to create the most severe blindness possible. Perhaps that’s the genesis of the common phrase, “The blind leading the blind.” And, it has nothing to do with the ability to see through one’s physical eyes!
Fourth, ironically, seeing through our physical eyes can lead to the cure for loneliness. When you and I open our eyes and see that there are countless others in need of our love, it can open new connections into multiple hearts. All it takes is a desire to see past the pain inside oneself.
Fifth, others will love you because you loved them first. My friend sat across from me with tears in his eyes. The sad loneliness on his face was almost too much for us to bear. It was as if every molecule, making up his person, was screaming for relief. So, I gave him the relief all of us need, by sharing what has worked for me over and over again.
“Lose yourself by serving others,” I said. “You can become the best friend of many if you’ll just allow caring service to sweep you away! Look for and begin to see opportunities to serve others. Then, you’ll know what to do. Seek those that feel lost and lonely. Share your love with others, looking forward to the day of forgetting. The day they forget their pain ever existed!”
Lynn Butterfield lives in Erda and is a managing broker for a real estate company.