It happened when I was having one of those “get used to visitation” moments. Off they went. I shut the door and was immediately encompassed by my loneliness. When you’re married and you get a “night off” there is nothing but smiles and feelings of thrill to “escape the routine” for a night or two. When you are single, it can feel a little different. You don’t regret your decision to divorce, you just fully realize that you aren’t going to enjoy the (too often resented) comfort of being near your children every day. I feel this is especially true for parents who provide the nurture for their children. The division in divorce is much more complete than you might have expected. Though my kids knew I would only be a phone call away, I felt like I had tossed them across the grand canyon. The feelings of separation ran deep. The parts of me that held them so tenderly seemed to tear apart within me like muscle from bone. I hated this feeling and visitation wasn’t frequent enough for me to get used to it. All I could do is keep breathing. I needed to feel loved. I wanted someone to hold me. I wanted to get this helpless feeling to stop.
There were lots of “not so lonely” options. Singles dances, Match.com, E-harmony, LDSSingles.com, LDSPlanet, were all waiting and welcoming me to pay my full membership rate to go and hang out where the other lonely people are lonely, breathing and waiting. I could spend a few hours searching for someone else who was good looking and lonely. I could also end up frustrated and adding to my list of blocked profiles. I wasn’t sure I could stomach it.
So I knelt down to pray and it was on my knees– that I learned for myself what love really is. I got the words out, “please- please help my children feel my love for them” and I stopped. That felt more selfish than I had expected it to. My love for them…hmmm…was that right? How was my love different from God’s love. I had often felt that my love for my children was God’s love pouring out through me. I felt it as I sang lullabies, in learning moments and in conversations as I sought to be attune to their needs. The scriptures speak of love.
1John 4, verse 16: And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him…and in verses 7 & 8: Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
If God is love, then I should rightfully be praying for them to feel God’s love. I should be praying for them to feel loved. There were lots of people that loved them. They would feel loved for the next week–but would I?
Is this why there is so much emptiness in relationships without goodness towards one another? What a gift of God to allow us to feel so much inexpressible passion and care for someone. We are feeling God’s love for them. It then becomes such a responsibility -a gift- to keep and nurture someone with that love. To be near unto someone who treasures us enough to keep that pure channel open from heaven to us is what we are really craving in our relationships, isn’t it? The attraction we feel for one another then ends up as the added blessing by God for us to do what we were excited to come here and do.
If I just wanted to feel loved, would finding someone to hold me be enough? It was easy to find someone to hold me, but it seldom stopped at that. Are the “let’s hook up” guys all looking to feel God’s love? Maybe, but maybe in my desperate state it wasn’t worth risking what virtue I had hoped to maintain.
I wanted and needed to feel as much love as possible. God’s source of Love was the fountain I was in need of. Where could I find it? That seemed too easy, I could go on a walk and find a little of it in nature, in a sunset and in the good growing things of this world. Try it sometime; Take a good look at a tree, notice it’s trunk, the fine texture of the bark, the strength of the branches as they arch overhead clinging to the soft green leaves as they shade you. Sincerely thank God for a tree and you will feel it. You will feel His love for that tree and you will feel his love for you. You will feel it as you do something kind for someone, especially so if it’s someone who could never repay you. A smile offered to a stranger can extend His love and help it get comfortable in your soul. You may find others along the way who have found strength in His love and peace in the unknown future and hope in the emptiness of our longer days here in this life. These are people that make great friends. You can also get brave and kneel down, ask God to forgive you for your weaknesses and ask Him to help you feel His love for you.
The next time someone tells you that you can’t expect someone else to heal your emptiness–that you have to do that yourself– don’t get all discouraged in your lack of capabilities or hope. Don’t go try to prove them wrong and find a guy that can get you all that excited and then some. Why? Because it’s not that hard to do and it doesn’t work. Start on your knees. Your capacity to offer and find love begins there. Ask God, who is eager to bless you, for a strong enough dose of love to keep you from losing your hope in a good future. Ask Him to help you to find someone who could benefit from feeling loved, and be willing and open enough to allow that good love to flow through you. This world needs more lovers.
Keep being virtuous, you’re not alone. I’m over here being virtuous too. 🙂