Nov 15

Loneliness and Aloneness

Being a single divorced Catholic dad can be a very lonely experience.  For me, that would be an understatement of a lifetime.  It has been exceedingly lonely.  Painfully lonely.  The closest family is 1500 miles away in terms of brothers and sisters or other relatives.  And though my daughter and family are 2 hours away, they have their own lives with small children.  Even my best friend is 2000 miles away.  My neighbors I either do not know, or see very seldom with one exception – but even with them, we might get together a few times a year.

I am essentially alone in this place in my life.  And the pain of being so alone sometimes is overwhelming.

So where do I go with the loneliness?  Certainly I have considered every avenue of relief, from dating to one night stands and everything in between including support groups.  Having a live-in has occured to me.  Ah, the temptation to find comfort and consolation that my humanity cries out for so desperately is very great and constantly demanding.  And I see so many guys around me in the same boat taking a way out of the pain that makes them feel good for the moment.  I certainly understand what drives that.

But in the end, the futility of every path I considered was readily apparent.  I have spent my life struggling to grow interiorly, spiritually.  I could not, for all the pain, throw it and my salvation away.  And support groups or other ‘support’  type functions have either not been practical due to my committments at home – no one to watch them while I was out – or for other reasons, unappealing.

Part of where I take the pain is to obedience and submission of my will to the Divine Will of God.  And the another place I take it is to the ‘unitive’: uniting my aloneness with His aloneness (“my God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”) and His suffering.  He was tempted in every way we are, scripture says.  I am sure, although I have never read it, that many attractive women in His travels, were drawn to Him and presented themselves to Him in not so holy ways.

And besides, being with me at every moment, He knows my heart ache and pain, besides all the temptations.  So the ‘illuminative’ way becomes apparent.  I begin to understand the movement of the Spirit in my interior life and that of others, and His way of viewing our pain and temptations with such understanding, mercy and forgiveness – and wanting to shower us with His grace if we but turn to Him in every moment of weakness and temptation.

All this can sound too much.  Too ‘holy’.  But we are called to holiness are we not?  And I am also a pragmatic man, and to me, this is a pragmatic approach to a problem for which the world has no lasting or sound answers.  The answers the world offers lead to fleeting satisfaction and are futile in the end.  I have watched those who have tried other ways out.  I could go those ways only if I were willing to subvert my conscience to the desires and wants of my flesh and humanity.

And so I turn to God who is faithful and always present to me and who would never abandon me.  Although I fall down in this struggle, He is always ready to extend His hand to help me back up and continue my walk to grow in holiness as I struggle against my nature. That is the answer each of us Divorced Catholic Dads have – to turn in our pain to Him, to trust in His graces and walk in His Way despite out pain.  That’s Catholic manhood.



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