“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”
― Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness: The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic Social Activist
My relationship with my ex was abusive on more levels than there is room for in this post. When you add addiction and alcoholism to mix, it was truly a relationship I never dreamed I would ever leave alive. When I finally cut off all ties with him, his response was to harass my parents with death threats aimed at them and me. I went into hiding for what would be seven years.
Going into hiding meant cutting myself off from anyone I might have considered a friend. This also proved critical for my beginning steps of sobriety. I was alone, lonely and still believing the lies he told me in order to alienate me from the rest of the world – lies about people not wanting to be around me and how my only value was utilitarian.
In the beginning, it was hard for me to believe that anyone would want to be my friend. I was too damaged, too dirty, and there were too many secrets in my soul.
Then, I let one person at the place where I worked become my friend. We began going to lunch, then she would come to my apartment. As I got to know her, I let her into my life more and more and we became friends. She began to speak truth to me in place of the lies I believed. In her eyes, I was fun and funny and I knew how to be good friend. This was the beginning of my journey from the darkness of abuse into the light of healing.
But I had to say yes to the invitation, to come out of isolation and into community. I had to take a chance on s friendship despite the lies that told me I was unworthy and unlovable.
Healing happens in community, friends. When we are with healthy, safe, encouraging people we are able to see ourselves as God sees his beloved children. We need each other. In the book of Genesis in the Bible, God saw that it was not good for man to be alone. God created companionship in the beginning. We need companionship no less today.
We need each other when lies overcome our minds and our souls and we believe we are not important to anyone, let alone the God of the universe. We need each other when dreams beckon to us and we are afraid to step into what we were created to do, into who we were created to be.
We need to people to say to encourage, prod, and sometimes firmly push us into taking steps toward healing, creating, being. And, we need each other to share triumphs - goals reached and dreams achieved. Friends who know where we have been truly understand how precious the moments of triumph are and there is no sweeter sight or sound than when they are excited for us.
Take a chance, friend. Today is the day to do it. There is much hope to be found in the eyes of a trusted friend.