I have come to realise that loneliness is born from a lack of relationship with oneself, with the heart of who you really are. The loneliness that nothing external can reach can only be addressed in a spiritual context and by faith in something beyond ourselves, but in ourselves, usually God. It is a knowing that one is loved and cherished by something beyond anything this world can offer and that is difficult to achieve. The pain of being lonely and isolated I find personally very difficult to deal with and I know I’m not alone; what is most universal is also most personal and vice versa. There is the sense that you are of no consequence or have no meaning to any other. That what you have to say or what you may have to offer is of no value. Again, perhaps, it takes a degree of isolation to bring us to the realisation that much of what we do say or have to offer is ‘fluff’ and that our so called importance is predicated on need and fear rather than love. Our egos need us to believe that we are needed. Working brings a feeling that we contribute something of value because we get paid for it. Drinking brings sociability as long as we keep drinking and engage with our drinking buddies at the bar. Sport brings a sense of belonging as long as we’re able to participate. But, if we strip this ‘fluff’ away, will we be needed or even noticed? It’s not coincidence that the elderly tend to be the most isolated, lonely and forgotten. They no longer work, party or play and are simply invisible in this life, a life which is nothing more than an elaborate, ego driven, game based on need and fear. And this is how I feel too - invisible. It has been a truly difficult year. This year I have faced down demons from caverns deep within and I am succeeding against them. I do not know for certain what lies ahead. It is dawn, but the day is long, and like any day only God knows for certain what it will bring forth. The demons, the loss of love, unemployment, loneliness, little money and the trappings thereof, have been very difficult to contend with on a practical and emotional level, but have been necessary to truly remove the ego and see the reality of what is, the truth of who I am, who I am meant to be. I remain lonely. As I write this I look to another week of being alone. I do not know how many more days or weeks I can continue to live in this way. Engaging with the truth has brought me in close contact with the spirit within, with God and the certainty that there is something beyond the existence we know and experience in human form. I think that human existence is of benefit only if we love and are loved, and I do not mean love in terms of a feeling, because I have come to realise this as nonsense. What I mean is love in terms of doing, committing and realising, of not being afraid to love others, or waiting to be loved before we love. These lines come from a song by John Denver and I think they’re beautiful, but the song makes me cry – ‘Love is everywhere I can see it. You are all that you can be, go on and be it. Life is perfect, I believe it. Come and play the game with me.’ On a clear day, alone, in the hills of Glendalough, these words are within touching distance of my reality. I cited love as being necessary for meaningful living, but so too are hope and faith. ‘Come and play the game with me.’ A game cannot be played alone.