loneliness Posts

Our Brother Terry McGregor

DaNang, Vietnam with Sons & Daughters in Touch.

DaNang, Vietnam with Sons & Daughters in Touch.

Every now and then there are people we meet who change the trajectory of our lives in the most unexpected but eternally astounding ways.

Terry McGregor was that person for me.

There were others, of course. The poet George Venn who first declared me a real writer. Patsy Ward, that beautiful young woman who helped me find my way to Jesus, after years of abandonment. Judge Rufe McCombs who asked me to write her memoir. Marc Jolley who agreed to publish my first book and is still publishing my books.  I could probably spend all day writing about the people who have shaped me into the woman I am.

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St. Simons Memory

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She sat on a wooden bench inside one of St. Simon’s more popular restaurants. Her blond hair was cropped short in the fashion of Robin Wright. She was thin and angular, and not a beauty really as much as she was simply striking. She was high as well, although I was too naive to know that right away. She was on something that kept her amped up. Meth, maybe.

I smiled. She spoke. We chatted about the island as we waited for our take-out orders. She was recently divorced. There were no kids. She was originally from a well-to-do family out of New York. A transplant like so many others on the coastal Georgia island. I was working on an article for Delta Sky Magazine and had talked to many people that week. I’d learned that the islands locals were being priced out of their homes and ancestral lands by the rich and super-rich, who make a hobby of buying up homes and land in playgrounds across the nation.

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Within Every Man is an Abraham

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Sadie clicked the remote off. She could not abide one more racist rant out of Donald Trump’s mouth. She emptied the bottle of red wine into her glass. Had she really drunk the entire bottle alone? She seemed to be doing that a lot lately. Picking up a pen, Sadie wrote a yellow sticky note to herself: Stay Sober. She laughed as she pressed the note to the frig door.

Sadie had bouts where she stayed sober, but those intervals were growing further and further apart, especially since she took on the job as Dean of Discipline at Lowcounty High. It wasn’t the job she wanted, but it was the best she could get given she had waited until mid-June to begin looking, and only then because Brice really up and left her like he had been swearing for years he’d do.

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A Good Kind of Lonely

 

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I was talking with a friend recently. She’s moved to a new community, started a new job, is in a new relationship. To the casual observer everything looks hunky-dorey.

Everything is hunky-dorey most of the time.

But there are these moments – moments like she was having when we were visiting – moments in which she said her spirit feels unsettled and a sense of overwhelming loneliness overcomes her.

Loneliness is nothing to mess around with or trivialize. It is a known health risk.  Studies have shown that loneliness disrupts sleep, elevates blood pressure, increases a rise in the stress hormone cortisol, and leads to an increase in depression.  Some health reports list loneliness at epidemic levels. It is reported that loneliness is twice the health risk obesity poses. When you are obese people notice and often offer help or make suggestions for intervention.

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