To A Friend in Crisis


Friend, I don’t know how to help you.

I don’t know how to take away your pain.
I don’t know how to remove your heartache, your fear, your sorrow, the longings that burn deep inside.

I have known these visitors.
I have never found a way to annihilate them in myself.
I am as broken and as lost as you are.
My answers have crumbled too.

Yes, I know the yearning and loneliness you speak of.
I ran from my pain for years. I tried every fix, every solution, every addiction.
I tried to drink my loneliness away, sex it away, eat it away, meditate it away.
I tried to surround myself with people to distract myself, became addicted to people and still the loneliness haunted me.
I tried to hypnotise myself with religion, spirituality, dogma, belief and false hope.
There were times I came close to suicide; sometimes that seemed to be the only answer.
I tried to medicate away my loneliness, ignore it, bury myself in work and useless activity.

“Just keep moving”, I begged myself. “Don’t stop”.

Loneliness banged on the door in the middle of the night.
I heard her cries in my daydreams and nightmares.
I ran until my feet were bloody and raw.
I ran until I could not run anymore.

And then, life forced me to stop.
Through illness, through exhaustion, through the sheer pain of running.

It was only when I stopped… that true healing could begin.
I turned towards my loneliness and let it fill me up.
I thought I would die, but at the heart of loneliness I only found love, and more life, and more light.
And a deeper connection to the Divine.
And near-unbearable compassion for my fellow brothers and sisters.

The ‘darkness’ within me had only been a lost child, longing for love.
She was lonely for me.
She had been waiting.

It was a beautiful reunion.

Now, loneliness and I live together, as One.
We breathe together. Walk in the meadows together. Sit under the sky and laugh and weep.

I have found my love in the darkness.

Now, friend, I sit with you.
Still. Present. Here.
I see your fear, your exquisite brokenness, your yearning heart, and I bow to these gifts, these strengths of yours.
I trust your ability to meet yourself.
I have lost all interest in fixing you.
I don’t know how to help you.
But in your “helplessness”, a fire of healing!

I cannot fix you, no.
But I can love you
as much as I love myself,
which is a lot.

~ Jeff Foster

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