In times of loneliness, it’s not uncommon to stare out the window, watching the rain drench the earth.
The wind blows, and I feel hollow. Life experiences carve out caverns in my soul. The despair seeps into my thoughts, and I am back to feeling alone. Again.
Thinking back, I’ve always felt this way, fully aware that the more I think about it when it comes up, the more tortured I feel.
Oftentimes, the resistance comes from fear. I am terrified that the emptiness will finally remain and the rest of my life predetermined to this feeling of loss and unacceptance. It grips at me, and so, I continue to watch the rain, paralyzed by the thoughts in my mind and the sensations in my body. I’m not sure if this is a true existential crisis or emptiness. Either way, it sucks, I hate it, and I wish it would go away.
Currently, I’m in Portland visiting a relatively new friend.
We met on a trip last September to celebrate a mutual friend, their birthday, and enjoy a weekend-long music festival. The bond was almost instantaneous. This new friend offered a presence and emotional intellectuality that I had only experienced in a few people like our mutual friend, my therapist, and my dog, Yogi, may he rest in peace.
And while I know there are plenty more people in my life who exhibit social and emotional intelligence, this new friend has been a breath of fresh air through my lungs. She is kind, generous, thoughtful, and offers a certain type of safety when you are feeling empty. Not to say that she does anything spectacularly profound in holding such space, rather it’s a feeling of being seen, just as you are.
This morning is no different.
I woke today, hearing the gentle patter of rain on the window, followed by gusts of fierce wind. I woke up feeling the emptiness again, not in my own bed or home, but in the comfort of someone’s home who is steadily becoming a close friend. This friend doesn’t rush to fix or heal me. My pain doesn’t scare her, nor does it seem to make her feel like she has to take it on. Instead, this friend offered over her home and energy for a simple exchange of time and conversations. I see me within her and vice versa, and for the first time in a while, I have the emotional support to feel and not be ashamed by it.
Like the way the sun shines down on everything equally, so does this home, her heart, and the rain. And so, I sit in the wee hours of the morning, blanketed in familiar feelings of loss, but something different is settling into this existential emptiness, and that is the hope found in comradery, in village, and in love.
There isn’t anything that she’s done that is over the top, but what she has done is open herself to new friendships when she herself feels loss and abandonment too. She doesn’t hide away or behave as if she has it figured out; instead, she offers an ear, her velvet couch, her sweet Frenchie Charlie, and deep presence. I am quickly realizing this was all I ever needed; it’s all any of us has ever needed, and I am so grateful.
The emptiness may come and go with the volatility of shocks to the system, but I am realizing in this feeling and my time here in Portland that I am not alone; we never truly are. But to move through, we must be willing to share and discern that we are not flawed in this process.
In life, we have a choice to offer presence and vulnerability as the rain washes over us. I don’t shy away from my pain anymore, even when I hate it and wish I felt different. The goal of my life is to not eradicate my sadness, loss, or my heartbreak; the goal of my life is to learn how to be okay when it rains on my emptiness.
I wait to feel the sun in my heart that leads me to feeling peaceful again. I may have awoke, feeling the familiar pain I have carried for so long, but now, I know that I have a choice. Either get wet from my tears or resist the pain that grips me.
The sun may not be shining today, but it shines within my soul and that notion leads me to liberation.