The Loneliness Of A long Distance Failure

My word for the day is "anguish."
You probably think I'm exaggerating and looking for sympathy.
Well, no, I am not and yes, I am.
In that order.

It all started last night just before bedtime. We were watching a lightweight documentary on Northumberland. One of the items was about the church of Saint Oswald at Heavenfield. It's a beautiful, old church on an even more ancient Christian site. In fact, it dates back to King Oswald of Northumbria whooping the arse of Cadwallon ap Cadfan of Gwynedd with the help of English Jesus. It's has no electricity and is in the middle of a pasture. It's one of my all time favourite places and just seeing it on TV reminded me of how I will never get to do what I always wanted to do, namely be a parish priest.

This is the trouble with my pain - It is triggered by anything to do with religion and, in particular, by churches. Every time I walk past a church or see a picture of a church I crash. Going on holiday can be hell as the drive to and from entails the passing of numerous church buildings all of which remind me that my life has been a complete waste of time. You may think it has not but I'm afraid what you think, right or wrong, doesn't help me.

And nobody in the Church is willing to give me the help I actually need even when I ask them for it directly. I expect they are too busy telling everyone that God is love.

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The Loneliness Of A long Distance Failure — 3 Comments

  1. Wonderful picture, but I’m sorry for the anguish that goes along with it.

    I wonder, based on my own experience, if this is a common response to loss that to us makes no sense. As you may recall, in late 2010, I lost my father to cancer, having gone through “the shadows” with him as one of my sisters and I assisted in his hospice care. The grief was great, but in the end, the loss “made sense”. Well, as much sense as Stage IV cancer can make.

    Meanwhile, in the background, my 12-year relationship had been dying as my ex was disappearing into his addictions, and the official separation happened a few months after losing Dad. The grief was great, and though we hear the stories of others’ experiences with addiction as if they make sense, living through it did not. The only thing one can do is let go while searching for a way to keep oneself safe and sane – Being in a bomb shelter while a war rages over your head that you had no part in creating and no ability to end. When freed, I was left wondering, “What was that about?”

    When I remember Dad, our life together, the care he provided, and the care I was able to provide in return, I’m sad, but it’s a sadness that is tinged with gratitude.

    When I remember the end of my relationship, I’m sad, but with a sense of futility. I don’t sense regret, as I’m pretty sure I’d make all the same choices again (Unless I invent a time machine!). I am aware that the changes and growth I experienced has likely made me of some earthly and heavenly good, but the sadness is never far away, as you describe with spotting a church building on holiday. I am affected when around loving couples. I’m affected when around a couple that takes their relationship for granted. I’m greatly affected when family and friends experience the end of relationships (That experience can make me very anxious.). I can’t say that I crash, but I become aware that I am “not right.”

    Not that I wish it upon him, but if my ex had died in the years that our relationship was healthy, I suspect that my reaction would be different. Such a loss would have made far greater sense! This thought can cause me to feel guilty, not because I wish my ex to be dead. I do not! But that I should not be in a place of peace with the actual nature of that loss. I must not trust God enough. That’s it!

    I believe that the only thing that has substantially helped me was my involvement in Alanon (AA for loved ones of the addicted) for two reasons – Affirmation that my reaction was rationale and knowing through the stories of others that I am not the only person in the world who has experienced such things. (I was once the only Christian gay man in all the world! That was cool.)

    I don’t know if any of that is helpful. Probably more for me than you, as I’ve never sat down to formulate this into written thoughts. I have learned to not feel guilty about the sadness, since it does not seem within my control – I sit with it and serve it a drink, if it likes, but I always hope it doesn’t spend the night (My last bout of full-on depression related to a “trigger” was last fall and am familiar with the concern that this is not going to be a brief encounter.).

    • Thanks, KJ. I would think that the death of your father is easier to live with than the end of your relationship. Your father will never come back and once you are resolved to that only sadness remains at worst. My problem is that I could one day achieve my desire to be a parish priest so my vocation is not dead and gone for ever. It is the difference between what could be and what actually is that causes my anguish especially as my hopes are being deliberately thwarted by others and there appears to be nothing I can do about it (that I am capable of doing).

    • {{{KJ}}}


      Every great once in a while, I get triggered into “What Ifs” about my ex. They don’t last long—“What the f#ck are you doing, thinking about HIM for???” usually breaks the thought bubble—but when they happen, I still get that sense of futility you speak of [Along w/ the increasing dread that, as f#cked up as that relationship was, he still may end up being “the Love of My Life”. I fear I’m losing my drive to even WISH Ms Right would waltz into my life anymore. Gack, I’m getting old…]