Lean on the encouragers

Published 6:54 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018

There have been many times in my life when I felt oddly out of place or not in the right place.  When I have times like these the best word to describe the feeling is “loneliness.”

Here is the kicker — I am not alone.  This type of loneliness is a product of depression or sadness.  We all experience it, don’t like to talk about it, and don’t wish to burden others with our problems.

Sadness usually begins when our worlds are shaken by a tragedy, or misfortune, or a problem we can’t seem to solve.   For me sometimes it is a “pile on.” Too much work, too many goodbyes, too many struggles at one time, and uncertainty about tomorrows.  Worry and fear play a significant factor in all our battles within our minds.  No one is immune from those days when life is not going well and causing us to struggle.

A writer’s world is a lonely place.  Usually, I like it.  I enjoy my heart quietly spilling words on paper and trying to do my little part in helping others, not with an opinion, but to openly share so we better understand our connection to each other.  We may not all agree, but everyone needs to be reminded every now and then that God made us as brothers and sisters.  There is a common bond between us which requires nurturing.  I hope most of the time I have been a bit like a little watering can.

It is hard for me to take criticism or to realize some folks may never support what I do or read what I write.  That is when the naysayers take over my brain causing me to want to close the keyboard and not write another word.  I often ask myself, “Why? Why am I doing this?”  That is when the lonely world of writing becomes a sad place to live.

I was at the point the other day of just packing up the words and moving.  I wanted to call Daniel, my editor, and say “thanks so much, it’s been a good run. I will always be grateful for you and all of LaGrange.”

And, then he went on vacation, and I didn’t know who to call. God has a funny way sometimes to make us pause in life.  He gave me enough time to think it through and not rush to quit.

Sadness is a strange bird. It can make us fly into despair prompting us to want to stop doing what we love, give up our dreams, and put a “closed sign” on our hearts. Depression can wreak havoc with our minds and make the critics of our world become the only voices we hear.

I was alone in the car the other day traveling to North Carolina to help my daughter get settled in her new home in Raleigh. On the way, the tears would well in my eyes to the point it was becoming dangerous to drive.

“What am I going to do when I don’t write any longer? Why am I still crying so much I can’t see the road? Why do I feel alone in my not lonely world?”

I needed to take my Buddy’s hand and ask. So, I prayed.

Within just a couple of hours, the tears started to dry, and I could see the road.  I stopped for coffee and checked my emails. Judy, a friend from high school, had written a note on my Facebook page after I posted a story. She always attaches those pink hearts and tells me she loves this or that. She never wavers from responding or putting her thumbs up on nearly everything I write. For some reason, this time, those pink hearts were like a magic potion.

How many times in life are we responsible for our own undoing because we lose sight of what we are doing?

I remembered something my friend, Deborah, told me when I first started writing.

“If you only can make one person feel better or give them hope, then you have done what God has asked you to do.”

I am sitting in a hotel room looking out the window at a gray, gloomy Monday in the city of Raleigh. Businesses are bustling with people doing their jobs while I am in my peaceful, lonely writing world happily pouring words on paper while thinking of pink hearts, good friends, and my Buddy who always helps me find my way back to my place in the world.

When you feel lost, lonely or sad, lean on the encouragers in life — those who give you insight, pink hearts and a healing hand.