It’s the holidays. Seriously and officially. Thanksgiving just passed and the last of the holiday segregationists can now comfortably enjoy everything Christmas oriented. Soon after Christmas is New Year’s Eve where the only thing that happens or doesn’t happen is the anticipation of a midnight kiss. And not too far after that is Valentine’s Day. We don’t need to discuss the stupidity of that holiday.
If you’re reading this post it’s because you’re single. If you’re reading this you know that every single one of those individual days and the ones in between can make your heart so heavy it sinks and settles soundly in your gut. If that feeling never happens for you, well you are lucky. Many aren’t so lucky.
I want to tell you a story.
This Thanksgiving I did not go with my family. I had made plans with a local organization to deliver meals to home-bound seniors on Thanksgiving. As you probably do not know, I am the organizer for a local volunteer Meet-Up group and this is an event we partner with a non-profit to supply volunteers every year for at least 3 years or so? This was my first time to actually participate vs just help facilitate.
I was assigned 3 homes to go to, and a total of 5 meals to deliver. I’ll try to keep this short now and get to the point.
The first home was a Mexican lady who did not speak any English. She was super sweet and in my embarrassing Spanish comprehension (I grew up on a border town, I should know Spanish) I was able to at least learn she had 6 kids scattered throughout the US and Mexico. Even after creating such a large family, there she was, alone. It made me sad, but she was doing well. Her home was immaculately clean and comfortable, full of little stuffed animals and statues and she was watching Spanish soap-operas. She seemed ok.
The next stop was a secured building for seniors; my recipient was to be a Korean man. After several attempts to get inside, finally a family came with keys and gave me entry to the building. Then at the door to the unit, after several knocks and shouts and phone calling, no one ever came to the door. I was instructed if this was the case, I could not just leave the food for health reasons, but I could give it to someone else. On my way out I saw another volunteer with a delivery to the same building. I asked to follow her in and see if her recipient would like my extra meal for herself or a friend.
That’s how I met Jackie. Jackie said she could use the extra meal, but I could tell she was starved for human interaction. I went into speak with her for over an hour then had to deliver the meals to my last stop, but then returned again after.
During my time with her I learned too much about this woman in the way that my heart still hurts for her. She was adopted. She’s not even sure her exact age or birthdate but thinks it was 1932. Both her parents died before she was 17 and with no siblings and no extended family that would assist her, she was on her own and has been since. She was married once for a short time and never had kids. She is bound to her home due to bad knees. A woman comes once a week to help her get groceries and supplies she needs. The building she is in is nearly entirely Korean so her opportunities to speak to anyone in English are limited to the woman who comes once a week. She doesn’t see or speak to anyone else face-to-face.
She’s a sharp mind though. She can converse quickly and wittily. She joked how she was still very vain and enjoyed compliments from men even now. She was a bright woman in good spirits but did say she’s thought of throwing herself out a window if she thought it would end it and not just bust her up. Gah. I asked her plans for Christmas and she said “Oh deary, I never have plans for well, anything anymore.” Her face lit up when I asked if she minded if I visited again.
Now I’ve been lonely and I’ve shed many a tear but I know now my feelings of loneliness have never been as worthy as hers.
We all get lonely. We all know what an awful feeling it is. We all can feel sorry for ourselves and for the fact that we haven’t found the right person yet. The spectrum of our loneliness is certainly long and varied. But we are also in control. So often as singles we dwell on the half that is missing. That person we don’t have. But maybe our focus needs to shift from someone filling our half, to us filling someone else’s– someone like Jackie.
So we’re single, it’s the holidays and it can be crummy. But we can make it suck less for others if we are willing to be of service. I encourage you to seek the power you have to help someone who may be lonely over these holidays.
God Bless and I will talk to you soon,