I wanted to write tonight, but all that seems to be on my mind is a subtle sadness. My daughter is leaving for a trip to Washington DC tomorrow evening with her eighth-grade class, and this is the last night before that trip. I am feeling a bit dualistic right now, if "dualistic" is even the right word. I am extremely excited and happy for her, but gently silent and sad for me. How is it possible for us to be so complicated at once?

Why do I feel so lonely at times? If I had to name the most overbearing problem in my life, it would be loneliness. Me...lonely. How can that be? Don't I have God living right within me?

Sorry, Father, sometimes I think even we who realize you live within us desire a more physical relationship with you, or anyone, for that matter. All I know is, I didn't bargain for loneliness, I didn't bargain for not having my daughter with me all of the time through her growing years, and I didn't bargain to have no one else in my life besides her. Those were things that were decided for me, and I must admit openly, I still resent those things a little bit to this day.

Maybe you'll ask, "Why don't you hook up with someone else, Tom?"

I'll answer that as briefly as I can. First, trust is a problem for me, as in, I don't trust women easily anymore. I used to, but I don't anymore, and the more time passes by, the harder it is to trust. There are times I believe I am to the point of not even trying anymore, because I don't want to put effort into something that won't last...it all seems way too pointless to bother with.

Second, frankly, I don't really want a relationship with anyone right now. Having said that, I am sure some might think that has to do with trust. However, the real reason I don't want a relationship is because it just isn't, and wouldn't be very high on my list of priorities right now. Trust being the issue it is, if "relationship" is way down on a list of priorities, then it probably isn't a wise idea to begin something that won't receive the attention it deserves. I'm just not geared for that type of experience right now, and so I wait.

But the longer I wait, the less I find myself able to want to put any effort into an attempt. Does that make sense? It's like this; if I meet someone I might want to get to know, my life is such right now that there isn't much room for her. And since I know this, I think sometimes, "Why bother?" Make more sense now?

At any rate, loneliness is the big trouble for me. My daughter being gone for a week isn't the end of the world, but I am definitely looking forward to the day she comes back. That reunion is always sweet, and it sometimes seems to make me forget about all the loneliness I might have felt with her gone. But I also know that my loneliness is not a result of her being gone; it's something deeper.

Maybe a companion would be nice, but I also think that a companion might only serve to mask the real problem. Which is? I don't know. Maybe it's a part of the human experience to suffer loneliness at times. Maybe that's all it is. I am certainly aware of God in my life, I am not lacking there, but the human touch is missing...most of the time. I think we all need that human touch.

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