Friday, October 29

To Never Be Alone

"...that they may always have His Spirit to be with them" (Moroni 4:3).

I think that, as a society, we are becoming more and more alone. It would be easier to never look up from the sidewalk, to not stop by to see a friend and say hi, to ignore a person I know in the grocery store if he is ignoring me… or to never even acknowledge the presence of a stranger on the street, even when I walk two paces behind him.

I remember once walking down Main Street in Salt Lake City - going South just next to the Courthouse. It was probably 9:30 at night and a woman was a few steps behind me. I slowed my pace and cheerily began a conversation - sharing a bit of my day and asking how hers went. She stared at me, then gave a somewhat guarded answer. I kept talking, and within moments she was smiling and laughing. Then she looked at me again, this time with disbelief in her eyes, and asked, "Is everyone here this friendly?" She explained that she was visiting from out of state, had never been to Salt Lake before, and had only had a few hours to walk the city. She further explained that in her home town the only people who would ever start a conversation, in the middle of the night, with someone of the opposite gender, were somewhat unsavory. 

Her question caught me off guard. I countered by remarking that I didn't live in Salt Lake, either, so I wasn't completely sure. We parted ways and her question stuck with me. I realized that I have absolutely no clue how friendly people are… because, in my mind, it doesn't matter.

At 14, while struggling with a massive inferiority complex, depression, accidents, perfectionism, high school academics, sports teams, and the ubiquitous same-sex attraction, I turned to the Lord, and, from Him, learned a lesson that eventually changed my life.

I wanted to feel loved, appreciated, and understood. And similar to the time-worn Christmas saying, "giving presents is better than receiving them," the Lord told me that if I wanted to feel loved, understood, and appreciated I needed to spend my life loving, understanding, and appreciating others. 

I'll be totally honest. In my heart I knew that God had spoken to me. I needed to take the initiative for my own life. I needed to be a better friend and reach out to others. But in my head it sounded completely absurd, and that it wouldn't work. Everyone else had best friends without even working at it. Everyone else looked like they were understood, loved, and appreciated. And how would helping others help me have more friends? 

I tried it for the next few years of life, and my prophecy came true. I was a friend to others but had few friends. I organized my own activities, but was rarely invited to those of others. I was a counselor to others but had no one I could counsel with. And amid the crowds I still felt empty, misunderstood, and alone. 

I went back to the Lord and asked for help. Again, He told me to go outside of myself and love others. So I tried again, and returned feeling empty, worthless, and alone. Finally, I went back again, willing to do anything. I had tried to be a friend, to counsel others, to be an example, to do anything I could. And yet no one truly understood me.

And when the Lord told me to love them a third time, He reminded me that He would love me - and that nothing else mattered. If I would keep His commandments and do all I could to help His children return, He would be my constant Companion, my Friend, my Counselor. He would love me, and I would never be alone. In the end, no one else could ever perfectly understand me anyway - because only He had suffered my pains and seen the entire scope of my life.

It's true. The greatest blessings of love do not come from being accepted, honored, and loved by others. They come from doing those things myself. And so now I strive to love others - to reach out and be a part of their lives. Yes, I have friends and family members who support and encourage me. Yes, I appreciate their love and admiration. But, at the end of the day, when no one else can ever truly understand the workings of my soul, I talk with God. With Him, I feel loved, understood, worthwhile, and whole. He is my Friend, my Father, my Counselor, my God. And with Him at my side, I am never alone.


  1. I first read your blog a few days ago, and I was hooked immediately. So many of your posts have inspired me, but i feel like you wrote this one about me. I felt like I needed to share it on my facebook page, but for some reason hesitated because I didnt want people to judge. By that I mean, I didnt want them to see the name of your blog and judge you or the post without reading it. Does that sound silly? I just love you and your blog. I think everyone should read it. I've gained so much insight and I thiank you for that.

  2. Thank you for this. I think I needed this today.

  3. That's wonderful! I tend to feel alone a lot and I feel like I don't really have any close friends and I don't have any family where I am but with this blog post I realize that God is with me and will never leave me alone. Thank you so much for helping me to add insight to something I kind of already understood.

  4. I just started reading, and love this post. Thank you for sharing.

  5. As a convert who has already felt 'different' and as though I may never have close friends within the church, I've frequently felt alone and left out.

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I've never thought about it in those terms before. It's a lesson that I've needed to hear and understand.

  6. Thank you! you truly do have the spirit with you!

  7. so many anonymous commenters, interesting.

    i really needed to read this post. i have lived in this town for almost 5 yrs and i have not made a connection with anyone. the people in my ward are, well...weird. i just don't have anything in common with them and they seem equally perplexed by me. i have tried. but i admit, i gave up. i just kept my eye on the prize...that eventually we would be moving outta this place and i could wait until then to get back to my friendships, that i had my awesome husband and that really there was no one else i would rather spend time with than him.

    but after reading this i realize i NEED to reach out and try to be a friend, not just for ME but others need to know how awesome i am. *wink* So i am going to try and get out of my comfort zone.

    thanks for your kind words!

  8. Thank you. I needed that.

  9. My friend had your blog on her facebook page a month ago. I have since shared it with others and after reading this post wanted to comment and say I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND! You're the coolest. Someone who fulfills the prophecy that with great adversity you can either be a tool for great evil or great good and you are allowing yourself to be a tool in the Lords hands for great good. I really needed this post today. Thank you

  10. So true! I just moved to a new ward. I've learned from past experience that you can either wait for people to approach you or immediately begin to make new friends. Go to church early. Approach those you haven't met yet. Ask them how THEY are doing; make the conversation about THEM. As I've gone out of my way to attend activities and invite others to come with me, I've been richly blessed with feelings of happiness.

    They same goes for people outside of the church. I try to live the same way at school as I do at church. Although I spend more of my social time with members of the church, the majority of my friends are not members. There is nothing more fun than sitting by someone in class you haven't met yet and getting to know them. There are very few excuses to be lonely at my age.

    The best thing is that when you live this way, you are filled even more with the Spirit. And the Holy Ghost helps you know with whom to speak and what to say. Most (if not all people) don't get me. But I'm pretty sure all of us can say that. I take comfort in knowing that God does.

  11. I have thought of this so many times before! And I am so grateful for the moments that I forget about following the protocol of waiting for others to talk to me, or just looking forward.
    I just recently moved and I take the bus to work. My first day I was a little turned around unsure of where I was at. A guy next to me noticed and began talking to me. It turned out that he got off at the sam stop. He took me under his wing. Pointed me in the right way, and saved my day! About a month passed before I saw him again, but when I did, he greeted me by name and asked about work. :)
    Riding the bus and being in such a populated place, I have had the opportunity to remind myself just how many friends, brothers, and sisters I really have. And I am so glad that I do! It's made moving a whole lot easier.
    Heavenly Father always keeps his promises, and I know neither you or I are or will ever be alone, no matter what our surroundings.
    You have one more person who loves you and Im going to do my best to talk to those just 2 steps behind me from now on - and if we meet one day, I know I won't recognize you, but you'll have one more friend :)

    Thank you for your post! You write about the things I love. ♥

  12. It sounds like you have read a book I am currently reading, or perhaps, you have realized this truth just by going through your own life challenges. If not, you may want to pick it up and see if it helps confirm to you what you already know (as well as brings further insight). It's called Bonds that Make Us Free by C. Terry Warner.

    I know you are anonymous for a reason ... I recently started my own blog about the issues I am facing, which are not so different from yours (regarding personal feelings of self and relationships). Keep writing not only for others, but yourself ... I have found (in my fairly recent posting) that writing a blog not only is cathartic, but it provides the accountability for me to say what I believe and live what I say.


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