For some people, the idea of being alone is scary. Not because they’re afraid for their safety or of what may lurk in the dark, because everyone (no matter how brave they may be) are somewhat scared of those things. That’s only natural. Bravery is facing those fears. What’s scary is the idea of not mattering. Yet, we think our value is hid in the physical presence, but I’m learning it’s not.
I come from a large family, having grown up with five brothers, yet within that crowd I was always alone. I mattered in as much as I was a care-giver, I had a function, and fulfilled a need. I helped cook, clean, nurture, protect and defend, but as an individual I had no value, I didn’t matter. How do I know? Because I left them behind, walked out of their lives, and my absence made no difference. I’m still not a part of their lives though they all live in the same town, all within a fifty mile radius.
I was married for nearly twenty years, and while my husband was my best friend and I know he cared for me, even within that union I was alone and didn’t matter. Again, I fulfilled the function as a mother, wife, care-giver, provider, and partner. But when I walked out of that marriage, my absence made no difference, I didn’t matter. His life continues as it had, perhaps even better now that he doesn’t have the responsibility of me. I’m no longer a part of his life.
To some extent my children no longer have a need for me. They are now grown and off living their own lives. They love me and I matter to them, and in that understanding, I find value.
When I first moved out on my own, I think the thing I feared most was truly discovering how little I did matter in this world. I gave everything to it and the people in my life, and it really hurt to look around me and see their absence. But, I also discovered I wasn’t as much alone as I thought… because there were a few beautiful people who helped dry my tears, reached out to give me a hand, embraced me in a genuine hug, and showed me – not with their words, but with their presence – that I mattered to them. When in my pain I tried to push everyone out of my life, they refused to go.
Here I am in a new year, and though I’m physically alone most of the time, I’m never truly alone, because to these few beautiful people, and my children, I matter … and that makes me a little less afraid.
Till next time,