Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I wrote this for personal history this week, forgetting that we had cancelled because everyone would be knee-deep in Thanksgiving preparations.

LONELINESS—written November 23, 2009

When I was a teenager, and wasn’t dating anyone special, I was lonely. How can you be lonely in a house with parents who loved you? I’m sure you all remember such times.

I remember one of those times with such clarity that I can feel the winter’s cold coming off the window in the east bedroom. I was kneeling on the king sized bed, watching the snow falling under the street light at the corner of Olive and Lloyd’s house.

Photo credit's here. I tried to register so I could borrow a photo

with no watermards but ran into a glitch. My apologies to the owner.

The snow was falling at a slant, and it was a brilliant white. I mentally saw myself walking into the bright snow. I could almost feel the snow hitting my face. I felt like the only person on the earth.

I watched my imaginary self, walking through the snow, and out into the dark, all bundled up in my green coat. That night, kneeling on the bed, I felt like I had no future and was maybe the last person on earth.

The house in Annabella has now been sold to my bestest cousin, Holly, who loves it more than I ever could. The east bedroom is redone in antiques. The king sized bed I knelt on is gone. Gone is the teenage girl with the unknown future.

Sometimes, now, in the still of a winter night, with the snow falling at a slant through the streetlight on my cul-de-sac in Provo, I remember that girl I was. I want to comfort her, and tell her things will be better.

Today, in two separate emails these messages came. I wish I could have read them to her, so long ago. I wish she would have listened, as her breath made frost patterns on the window. I wish she could have seen the girl she imagined, lifting her face to the sky. I want to see her fling her arms wide and turn in circles, delighting in the knowledge that nothing bad stays forever and that her future would be bright.

And, even saying that, I hope I will remember this advice, for my day to day life right now. And I hope you will too.

Email #1:
One day it will all be a distant memory, Lynne, yet I can tell you now, with the supreme confidence of someone who's gone ahead in time to know, that you'll look back on this life and be so flush with love and admiration for yourself, your journey, and who it made you, that you'll wonder, as I do now, how it could possibly have escaped you then. Maybe this will help.

Your greater-self,
The Universe

Email #2:
Sunday Will Come “Each of us will have our own Fridays—those days when the universe itself seems shattered and the shards of our world lie littered about us in pieces. We all will experience those broken times when it seems we can never be put together again. We will all have our Fridays.

“But I testify to you in the name of the One who conquered death—Sunday will come. In the darkness of our sorrow, Sunday will come.

“No matter our desperation, no matter our grief, in this life or the next, Sunday will come.” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, "Dark Friday, Bright Sunday," New Era, Mar. 2008, 4 )

PS I still have that coat, just in case there is one day no heat on the earth. There is actually a knitted insert inside and it weighs so much it's a chore to walk in it. Whoever wears that green coat will really be alone because they will be the last person on the earth to freeze to death.


Julie Harward said...

Wow..I loved this. I remember feeling this way when we moved and I had to leave my "first love"..thought i would die for sure. Even now, when that old miserable one won't leave us alone, I can feel doubts about myself, but he can be dismissed if we raise our voice and ask. I believe we are way too hard on ourselves and one day we will look back and say...I did a good job of life! Thanks friend~ :D

Lorraine said...

Wow..I'm awed by this astonishingly beautiful lonely auto-biography. You write so beautifully Arlene, this post is one of my favourites...the photo is magnificent (even if it's not yours) and on that note, I have thousands of photos and would be more than happy to share if ever you need one and can't find it.
PS Solitude has always been my friend, strangely enough, i want to be that girl, the young you:)

and I adore the two messages x

Lorraine said...

OOPs Lynne, I called you Arlene...(she's also an outstanding writer) so sorry, stunning, stunning post Lynne x

Annette said...

Your writing touched my little girl heart and also my grown woman heart. Thank you.

Lee W - The Way I See It said...

I love the simplicity of "Sunday will come." It resonates with me.

Michael Rawluk said...

You should never ignore the universe.

Damama T said...

There is no sadder feeling than that of being alone. It is so much more than just 'lonely' could be. That image of snow, cold with endlessly dark shadows, is perfect. And that green coat? The perfect image of God's love being warm and safe and heavy enough to keep us grounded. Thank you for sharing. As always, beautifuly done.

Astromom said...

I think loneliness is part of life. There is also a part of us that will never be completely at peace in this world because we long for a life with our Eternal Heavenly Father. There is something beautiful and lonely about the quiet lonely winter with soft snow falling in the dark. A nice personal History.