When Loneliness Comes


The names of the Marines killed in Chattanooga are Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells, and Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt. Will you please do me a favor and say those names out loud right now?

And while I have been thinking so much about these four and their families, I’ve called myself on the carpet about how much I’ve not thought recently about the 8,302 military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan– or about the countless thousands of innocent deaths in those two countries. I’ve become one of the people I, as an activist, used to complain about. That must change.

Now that I have fulfilled my responsibilities as a son, I have to throw myself back into my life’s work with regard to my art and with helping my fellow veterans. I spoke that intention in prayer recently and, as is always the case, people have been coming “out of the woodwork” with suggestions, ideas, and offers of support to help make that happen. I believe that my Creator will help me but I have to make sure I’m suiting up and showing up. I’m willing to do the work. My mother always said (I think she actually got it from her mother), “If you pray for potatoes, God will send you a hoe.”

My house is quiet tonight. Chad is back in Auburn with his family and Shana went back to Nashville to continue being “Hair Twigger to the Stars.” Sydney and Dennis are asleep in here with me and Willie is on his dog bed in the dining room. His stomach will wake us all up in the morning and I want to start tomorrow in a very healthy way.

I feel awash in Love– from my parents and other ancestors who have crossed over and from my family and friends still walking on this plane. I missed my parents more intensely today and shed a few tears in their bedroom tonight.

I am lonely for a mate. And I wish I were a father. I have put other things in these holes in my heart, counterfeits as it were, and my intuition tells me that if those spaces are to be filled as God intended, I have to let the space stay empty for the moment. I have to be willing to sit with the loneliness instead of always compulsively trying to “fix” it when it appears. I have so very often drunk liquor when it was water I was really thirsty for.

Mark Twain said, “The worst kind of loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.” I’ve long been on this journey to be ever more comfortable with myself– most intensely since last September 1. Knowing that your eyes follow these words from the other side of my little light window has made the journey a little less lonely. And for that I am grateful.

See y’all tomorrow.

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