The Gift of Loneliness

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F_Daniela

Ten months after my son was born, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. At the time, I was heavily involved in my church. I served in leadership, ran a cell group in my home and worked in our community outreach.

My depression ate at me. The more I tried to ignore it, the more it consumed my life. Along with my depression, I dealt with anxiety, which made any step forward feel paralyzing.

Life started to happen: my toddler refused to go to the nursery, my son’s hockey began to occupy our weekends, and the next thing I knew, it was months since I had stepped foot in the building I had called home. I left my church.

What surprised and conflicted me was that I did not miss it. My lack of feeling gave me all the feelings. Guilt and shame were at the top.

God was quiet and, as my sickness took its full grip on me, I even wished my life would end. It was as if the story of my life had been ripped down the middle and I mourned the person I was.

So I began walking through life numb. I was there for my kids and my family the best I could be, but I wished for an eraser. I withdrew from life. Cancelled invitations to social outings, dropped out of groups. It was actually pretty easy to do.

Then, a year ago, beautiful Florence went to heaven. Michaela has told her story to the world and we are all better for it. As part of the SheLoves community, we were there for her. We grieved Florence.

For the first time in a long time, I felt awakened.

I could not help but think about how Florence fought so bravely through life, despite her condition.

I thought about how I had surrendered.

I put my hand up to help with Florence’s Celebration of Life. I had no idea what I was doing, or what that kind of service would even look like for a three-year-old girl, but I poured my heart into it.

This was a big deal for me. I am an introvert and I had withdrawn from society during my depression. Even on good days I would rather be at home nesting. But here, I was ripping off a band-aid and putting myself right out there. I had to deal with my anxiety and focus on something much bigger than me. I am so glad I did.

During Flo’s beautiful celebration, I will never forget the Bible passage shared. In Mark 5: 39-42 Jesus resurrects a twelve-year-old girl who had passed away. He spoke to her, “Talitha koum!” (Little girl, I say to you, get up!) The speaker spoke of how on earth Flo was not healed, but on the morning she went to Heaven, Jesus took her hand and said “Florence, talitha koum!”

In the moment I heard those words everything broke in me. It felt like a veil ripped in two. I saw Florence running in Heaven, and I wept.

But I also saw Jesus’ hand stretched out to me. “Talitha koum!”

Florence’s story broke my heart, but it also changed my life. A three-year-old girl who never walked, and barely spoke a word, had a life-changing impact on my world. Never underestimate what God can do with a life. She is my hero and I will always love her.

Things began to change slowly after that day. I hear about these miraculous God transformations, but my relationship with God  seems more like a crock pot. On very low heat.

What I did notice after Flo’s celebration was I had a flicker of hope. So I let it burn.

A few months ago, I did have a miracle. I was sitting on my couch sipping coffee and I felt it. It really surprised me, because I hadn’t realized it was missing.

I was lonely.

For me, loneliness was a gift. In my years of depression, I wasn’t once lonely. I just wanted to be busy with homeschooling my boys, activities, life. It was easy to disconnect.

But now, I wanted to be around people. I missed fellowship at church, I missed opening my home to dinner parties. I wanted to be with my friends.

So I picked up my phone and invited some friends over. Then, on Sunday morning, I got up and went to church and fellowshipped. No panic attacks. No fear.

For anyone wandering in the desert, maybe you have given up. Jesus is telling you “Talitha koum!” Little girl, I say to you, get up.

May Jesus resurrect your life.

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Daniela Schwartz
I am a happily married mother of two gorgeous boys ages 2 & 10. I write, create and decorate. I am passionate about all three. I also love naps and staying in my pyjama's all day. I haven't figured out if this is due to laziness or depression, possibly both. I think Jesus is the best thing that has ever happened. I have a twin sister so if you happen to run into me and I ignore you or seem rude, it is probably her. You can tell if it's me because I look a little younger and am slightly prettier (wink). I blog about life at danielaschwartz.com
Daniela Schwartz

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Daniela Schwartz
  • Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

    • Daniela

      Thank you Joanna!

  • Thank you for remembering Florence. I had only just stumbled into the community here at SheLoves when I learned of her passing and read Michaela’s strong words about grief. My marigold seeds are ready and waiting for the soil to warm a bit more before I join in remembering along with you.

    • Daniela

      I love marigolds! Make sure you share pictures when they bloom! Thank you for reading Michele.

  • Tracey

    Marigolds and Monarchs – I see them now and smile. I understand that kind of depression and it’s so easy for those in church around us to dismiss us as “busy” and “uncaring” or “UNPLUGGED” -I’m lonely too but sweet Florence’s symbols remind me to seek out others and see joy in the small things.

    • Daniela

      I am sorry to hear you understand this and are lonely Tracey, but also thankful you are seeking out others. Sweet Flo is a beautiful hero in our lives.

  • Angela Burns Doell

    I love you, and I love your presence. Your heart is pretty beautiful.

    • Daniela

      Aw geez Ang, you are making me blush. Thank you. ☺️

  • Love this Dani. I love that you shared this vulnerable piece of your story! “Talitha koum” – I’m going to keep that and use it when I need it. Thank you. xoxo

    • Daniela

      Thank you B, this was a tough one to share. Thank you for reading. xoxo

  • O, friend.

    This is beautiful.

    Healing can seem so slow and lighting fast all at once. I think we often cook on low crock pot heat— for a while—before the speedy a-ha moment releases us from our prison cell.

    Florence’s Celebration of Life was precious, thoughtful and beautiful. What a gift for Michaela + Jay to have you be the hands and feet and vision to spearhead the details of such a special day.

    I’ll never forget the day.

    It was precious for so many reasons.

    One of them being that I finally to see and spend time with my friend. It had been far too long. I’d missed you. Deeply. I loved working alongside you in the lobby, loading up the van, divvying up the flowers, folding tablecloths…

    Just being *with* you was all I needed to feel seen, heard and valued.

    Love you,
    Teen

    • Daniela

      Oh my word Tina. You made me cry. I loved seeing you that day, it had been far too long. And I feel the same. Just having you beside me, meant the world. xoxo

  • Kate Richardson

    Thank you for sharing and giving hope of what a resurrected life can look like. I needed to hear your story. <3

    • Daniela

      Thank you Kate. I am glad you found hope here. xoxo

  • This post gave me chills the first time I read it. It still does now. WELL DONE, Daniela.

    • Daniela

      Thank you Heather, you are awesome.

  • I will always remember that day, sitting with you in the van. I am grateful to read this now as you have come out on the other side of the isolation. It was really hard to watch and feel the wall … And yet, to trust that God’s got you. To see you rise that day and come back to us … O, friend, you have no idea. We missed out on your LIFE and creativity. To read this is balm for my soul. I love you.

    • Daniela

      These words Idelette…you are and always will be one of my favourite people in the world. love you sister. xoxo

  • Carla Saulter

    This was beautiful. Thank you.

    • Daniela

      Thank you Carla!! xoxo

  • Olivia Butz

    Perspective I needed – loneliness as a gift. I hadn’t realized that I was actually lonely until I returned from a lovely vacation with very close college friends a few weeks ago. But I see now it drives me to God and to reach out to others, in my own need, and that’s a good thing. Thank you.

    • Daniela

      This is so much. Thank you Olivia. It really is what opens our eyes.

  • Megan Gahan

    I stood at my island this morning and cried as I read this. You just described the last year and a half of my life- the postpartum, the anxiety, the isolation. Check, check and check. I’ve barely been to church since I had Kellan, but the last month or so the fog has been lifting. Today I actually saw a few friends throughout the day and enjoyed connecting. It’s been so long since I even felt capable of that. Anyway, all that to say, you are so not alone. You are so very loved, no matter vivacious or withdrawn you are feeling that day, and-for the love-you really need to write more often. Much, much love to you. Thank you for writing this. It means much more than you know.

    • Daniela

      Oh Megs, I have known we were in the same valley. I am so with you. We need coffee dates and carbs. We need to make this a regular occurrence.

  • Oh how I love this….every word.

    • Daniela

      I am so honoured you love this. That means the world. You are my hero, and I am so thankful for the day you walked through my door. xoxo

  • Helen Burns

    I love you more than words can say. Always have & always will…so blessed by you and your words today xx

    • Daniela

      Love you Helen. xoxo

  • cjdeboer

    So much love for these words – and you. And I too am grateful that you finally came to place of feeling lonely. xo

    • Daniela

      So am I Claire. You have been so vulnerable in your journey as well, it has given me courage.

  • Stefanie

    So beautiful, Daniela. You inspire me in so many ways! XOXO

    • Daniela

      YOU inspire me. I also crazy miss you. Let’s set something up? xoxo

  • Roos Woller

    Thank you for sharing. It brings tears to my eyes as I relive those powerful words and hard but beautiful celebration. You did such a good job.

    • Daniela

      It was such a hard and beautiful moment Rose. I am thankful I leaned in and didn’t run. I am thankful for the solidarity around me as we supported Michaela. Love you Rose. xoxox

  • Saskia Wishart

    Stunning and heart-breaking and life-giving words.

    • Daniela

      Thank you so much Saskia.

  • Nichole Bilcowski Forbes

    Thank you for being vulnerable and brave! Thank you for sharing your story!

  • This was the first day I met you in person. I would never have guessed that event planning on this scale wasn’t something you did all the time. You were so confident and sure, and your planning was so careful and so just-exactly-what-was-needed. You created a space for all of us to remember and love and grieve. What a gift it was.