In a matter of minutes, my world fell apart today. And I'm crying.

I'm crying because I'm in pain. Because I'm so incredibly, desperately afraid. And I'm crying because I've let myself hope again - let myself be vulnerable to a pain that has ripped me apart in the past and threatens to rip me apart now.

It's loneliness. Total and complete loneliness.

For the last 14 years, my only wish and prayer has been to find a friend. But I can never get close enough. I try, and it doesn't work. Or something happens to push us apart. I can love the people on the street as deeply as I love my family... but no more. There is no distinction, and I'm left alone because I can't cross the bridge to feeling.

The feeling of loneliness is beyond miserable. But the reason I'm crying isn't the feeling. It's the fear.

I can deal with the feeling. Lock it inside a steel box of numbness and tell myself that this is life - that being alone, and feeling alone, is just part of what I face forever. I will never have friends, or at least I will never feel them close. That God knows what He is doing. So I turn off the pain, and try to forget it was ever there.

But then, somehow, someone breaks through. The box that holds my feelings gets opened and I find myself wondering if maybe the miracle I've prayed for for so long is going to happen. If God will help me find a friend and help me feel loved. And I let myself hope.

And in that moment I become more vulnerable than ever before, to fear.

Maybe this is depression speaking. Except that it doesn't feel anything like depression. It just hurts.

I just wish I had the faith to believe. To honestly and truly believe that it will work out. Even when things go wrong, or people come and go. Even if I never have a friend who stays.

I just wish I had the faith to live with hope without being smashed flat by my abject fear of being alone forever. The fear that I try to smother with every good thing I do in life. The fear that makes me anxious when I don't have someone to counsel or someone to teach or something "noble" to accomplish. The fear that convinces me that the people who say they love me... don't... and that only their goodness keeps me in their grace. The fear that as soon as something better, or less painful or needy, comes along, I'll lose someone else before they got close. Because it has happened every time. And the fear that leaves me curled up in a ball in my car, sobbing because I'm ashamed and because I'm afraid.

Dear God, please help me find peace. Help me to feel loved even when I'm afraid of being alone forever. Help me to know that it will be okay, no matter what happens. Help me to love, and to live, and to find joy in life regardless of circumstance. Help me to be vulnerable, and to be able to deal with the pain that comes from leaving my heart open to the people I love. Bless the people I love for the time they've spent with me... and help me be better.

I'm okay. Life will go on. I stopped crying and can go back to class. I just need to have faith that it'll all work out.

It'll be okay.
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