– Maya Angelou
During some difficult times in my life, I am certain I have felt alone; however, I am just as certain I do not comprehend the depths of loneliness. How can I honestly understand an emotion so forlorn created by terrible events that exceed all bounds of my experience? To feel totally alone must be the most tortuous emotion.
Yet, so many others I have met have traveled the wilderness of base despair. Some still live in the environment. I have often heard them talk about how a terrible loss or an unfortunate accident has left them feeling hopeless, vacant, and alone. I empathize with these unfortunate people as I use my imagination to project my mind into a similar subjective state.
Still, I find my attempts to identify with their unique, painful realities to fall far short of my empathetic grasp. Then, I find I hate the state of my human condition -- that of ignorance when I seek comprehension.
In short, I often feel helpless to offer a meaningful balm of healing. I mouth words of comfort and offer gestures of aid only to reach one conclusion: I, alone, am inadequate to suffice. I believe that without the loving help of many, someone alone on the bottom of the sea of heartbreak is likely to remain submerged for a long time.
In "Alone," Maya Angelou writes that "nobody can make it here alone." Nobody. I believe this. Do you? Her poem speaks to my comprehension of living "here," on earth, among those who "hear the moan" of others who are lost and lonely. We all surely feel some sympathy as we process these cries.
So, why do we so often rely upon others to assist the people who suffer the greatest trials and to help these desperately lonely individuals gain kindred love? I believe most of us not only have never experienced desperation but also have no desire to connect with the defeated and the downtrodden.
Instead, we believe we have attained good fortune because that is what we deserve. To use the words of Angelou, we have never experienced "water that is not thirsty" and "bread loaf that is not stone." Therefore, we see no direct connection to the lonely and "to finding our souls a home" in aiding their plight. We may commit by our words but seldom by our actions.
My life has been filled with good fortune. And for that, I thank God. Yet, I know so many others who are much more deserving of the Almighty's favor than me who are filled with loneliness, the kind that never really "goes away." I marvel at how so many of them can find enough help -- through their faith and the kindness of others -- to live well.
I would love to say to them "I know how you feel." But, that would be deceitful. Nonetheless, I can honestly say I hope to help them the best I know how. Why? Because I, too, believe "nobody, but nobody, can make it out here alone" and everyone deserves clean, pure water and life-sustaining bread. Everybody, but everybody.