"Oh, I feel so utterly alone!"
Has this been the cry of your heart?
Have you felt, while in the midst of your family and friends, that, dear as they were to you, there was an inner self that was solitary, even desolate at times?
Have you eaten at the same table, sat closely side by side, shared the same room, been intimately associated with others every waking hour, and yet felt at times utter loneliness?
You hesitate to answer, perhaps, because of a sense of loyalty to others; but deep down in your heart an assent springs up which you do not frame with your lips.
Your loyalty is commendable. Your sense of justice demands it of you. Your children, your parents, and brothers and sisters, love you dearly, do all they can for you, and you must be loyal to them—you are glad to be loyal to them.
And what more can you really ask? you think. You ought to be satisfied, you try to be satisfied, and yet way down within there is that little something ; an unrest, a reaching, vague and blind, a longing for you know not what.
With all your loyalty, something speaks here and in spite of your protest, of your assurance that everything is all right and you are foolish and wicked to feel any lack, any solitariness.
We are never so much alone as when with those who are dear to us and they fail to understand us. And this failure is one of the necessities of Nature, beneficent though momentarily painful. There is compensation if only we know where to look for it.
"When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up."
As children our parents and home are the all to us. They constitute our world, we scarcely know another. As we grow older our world is enlarged. New attractions offer themselves, other interests enter in. While parents and home are still dear, they are not all.
We plunge into that world outside the home and find new delights. We meet someone hitherto unknown, and love that one even more than we have loved home, parents and friends.
We leave them, we make another home and find and live in another new world. Into this world come someday our own little ones, and it expands to hold new joys, hopes and fears.
What a change from our childhood world! We have changed its relations. We are now the parents, there are other children. The children that we were have forsaken the parents that were; not in the sense of forgetting obligations if our parents still wear the flesh, but in the sense of having outgrown them according to nature's demands.
Are we still to move on? Still to enlarge our world, or find a new one? Must we push on still further.? Is there no stopping place?
No, none. Nature's mandate is imperative. "Move on."
Our children grow up. In their turn they grow away by growing up. Will all our clinging keep them back? We face the fact, Nature's stern resolve that we are and shall remain individuals, however much we blindly try to infuse our lives into others or absorb other lives into our own.
Move on we must. We are to be taken up. We grow up to where we can be taken up ; and we are taken up only when we are forsaken.
Does this seem hard and cruel? Ah, no! God is Love, and there is no cruelty in the operation of divine Law when it is understood.
The ties of flesh, sweet and beautiful as they are, are temporal. The bond of the Spirit is eternal. As souls it is our destiny to reach and know and prove our God-Likeness. Halt as we may on the way, in our journey through the wilderness, eventually we must take possession of this Promised Land.
With our human sense and desire we cling to our fleshly relations. To be forsaken of them is a preparation for being taken up by the Lord.
Nature compels this forsaking, helping us to fulfill our destiny. Foreshadowings of this necessity are ours while in the midst of those who are so much to us. That inner loneliness that is sometime sure to be felt by every soul, is a prophet of the Lord. It foretells that which shall be.
Every earthly tie and prop shall forsake us that we may find and know our Lord, our real being, and His Christ. And this does not mean that we shall disregard our family ties and obligations. It means that we shall cease to depend so wholly upon them, while we continue to meet what they require of us.
If they constitute our happiness, make y our blessedness, how can we desire or look for another? The trend of Nature carries them away from us, leaving us to that actual loneliness, foreshadowed sometimes, which turns us to the Lord for consolation, for refuge. And when the Lord has taken us up, how great the consolation!
"In the world, but not of it."
This weaning from the ties of the flesh but strengthens the bond of the Spirit; and as it is strengthened we love our dear one more, rather than less. We love them better than we did before, because our dependence is upon the higher rather than upon the lesser.
This higher quality of love is the feminine, the mother quality. This alone is free from the element of selfishness. The lesser loves forsake us and we—if we do not understand—sit in the ashes of our desolation thinking there is no consolation.
But this is the Lord's opportunity. He cannot take up the satisfied. For them there is no attraction in His direction. Only those who turn to the Lord can be taken up by the Lord. Those who are forsaken will turn his way. To possess and not be possessed, to use and not be used, is the way of mastery.
Do you say “Oh ! I could not bear it if my child should cease to care more for me than for any one in the world!"
Dear as your child is to you, there is a corner of your heart which that child never enters. If your child possessed your whole heart, you would not be you. You are an individual, even though for a time you lose your sense of individuality in your love for your child or your friend.
And sometime this covered corner opens and the light shines in; and the slumberer there awakens and claims his own. Not even the bone of your bone and the flesh of your flesh can satisfy him, for he is not of the flesh. He has waited long and patiently, biding his time, which comes when you see the nature of the fleshly ties and the inevitable destiny that awaits you.
You cannot linger forever, you must go on. As the individual you go on, taken up by the Lord, while you still dwell with your family, your friends, meeting your duties which are your pleasures, even your joys; for all is met “in the strength of the Lord."
A life within a life belongs to the individual, a life which goes up, not down; a life which is an ascent of Calvary, perhaps, but which leads into the eternal kingdom of righteousness.
"Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world."
To overcome the world does not mean to lose all love for those connected with us on the plane of the flesh. It means to change that love, to eradicate from it the selfish element; to love wisely instead of passionately; to take up our love to a higher plane or quality as we are taken up by the Lord.
The dear according to the fleshly tie, may fail us sometime, will fail to be all-sufficient for always, because of the trend of nature. The Lord will never fail nor forsake us.
And experience but brings us to this recognition. It brings us to see that the truth of individuality compels a consciousness of it that must rise eventually to the level of its source. Our own individual being takes us, as souls, up away from the personal sense as the all of existence, and compels us to recognize a larger world, a broader relationship than this sense reveals to as.
Do not say that you could not live without your loved one. You can, for only by losing him will you really find him. He is an individual also; and within him is the same covered corner which you can never enter and fill. The necessities of being will compel him to find that which he must have, and he will not find it in you.
He, too, will be forsaken of even father and mother and be taken up by the Lord. And as you are both taken up you will be nearer together, be more to each other, than before.
Do not feel that you are hopelessly unappreciated and misunderstood. Do not be appalled at the feeling of utter loneliness that comes over you at times, as a wave rolling even over your head.
When space is vacant, and sound is stilled, and you are alone, so alone that your heart-beat is all you hear, a voice will begin to be heard, saying, "When thy father and thy mother forsake thee, I will take thee up."
This voice can be heard only in the silence of loneliness; and perhaps at first you will not understand the language it speaks. But you will learn to understand, and a great comfort and peace will come to you.
You will cease to fail to be understood. There is one that understands. You will cease to be alone. There is one who is always with you. You will cease to fear to be forsaken. You will know the Comforter.
God's law of cause and effect is inflexible, but with it comes consolation. The soul loses to find, and farther along it has compensation for all losses.
You can live your life in the midst of misunderstanding and misjudgment, even of condemnation. You have that inner within the outer life wherein you can—and will—find your compensation and consolation.
You are a living soul on your way to the Father's house. You are a growing plant, and in this inner life you will blossom and shed a fragrance that will sometime dissipate all the misunderstanding which is only the breath of a day.
To be taken up by the Lord is worth all the forsaking that prepares the way. It will make you more than a father, more than a mother, more than brother, sister or child; it will make you all these in one, for the Lord will become to you all these and more.
And to you the riddle of Samson shall be made plain. "Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness."
More from Ursula N. Gestefeld
- Born April 22, 1845 and died in 1921 (burried at Graceland Cemetery, Chicago).
- Involved in Christian Science
- Most famous work is The Woman Who Dares.