Words of Hope: Loneliness Observed Part 2

I met “Margo” at camp. She loved hoops and baggy shorts and had a cutting-edge fashion style. She found her mother dead when she was a very young child. Her father remarried a negligent woman who never cared for Margo. Her parents were drug addicts. They descended into lengthy narcotic binges with no food in the house for days. Margo fended for herself. She felt ashamed going to school in the same dirty clothes. Her baby sibling was sent numerous times to the hospital because of dehydration. Margo’s half-brother lived in the basement with a dozen cats without access to litter boxes. Down in this wretched squalor, he repeatedly abused her.

One memory she shared particularly haunted me. She told me she would lie beneath the door jamb of her parents’ room for hours at night.

She told me, “I remember creeping through the house, holding my breath, trying to be silent. I would lay outside my parents’ bedroom and wait. I knew my dad would leave the room to get to the bathroom, and I would lay there sometimes all night, waiting for him. When he came out, he would have to step over me. When he stepped across my body, I would reach out and touch the heel of his foot for a moment. Sometimes, his toes would touch me as well. I look at this time of my life, amazed at the enormity of my need for human physical connection. I waited all night just to touch my father’s heel.”

Dad often talked about the human need for love and affection, loving touch, and encouragement. Dad worked hard to learn every student’s name at camp. He believed everyone has a name and a need—the greatest need to be loved.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. – 1 John 4:7