I didn’t understand it as a kid, but I was so lonely as a child. Looking back now, as an adult, it makes perfect sense. Of course I was lonely, I had not bonded with my mother. My father died when I was six. My siblings were years older than me and my extended family wanted nothing to do with us. I was one lost boy among 7 million Angelinos. No wonder I felt so alone.
This loneliness led me on a lifelong search for connection and meaning. Who was I connected with? What was the meaning of my life? I sought connection with friends, tobacco, alcohol, the ocean, surfing, my ancestors, girlfriends…Still, I was so alone and felt completely empty.
My search for meaning led me to books. I read, as a child, about the purpose of life. I read everything I could and interviewed the few adults unfettered by the challenge, about the meaning of existence. My search led me to, finally, read the Bible. My daily reading of the Scriptures, often for hours at a sitting, led me to a powerful encounter with God. This experience with my Creator filled my soul with joy, understanding and a direction I had never understood before. God’s hand on my heart changed the direction of my life. I agreed with God that I was broken, sinful and needed Him. I sought to turn from my crimes, corruptions and perversions to His perfections. I felt, most profoundly, God’s presence in my life by His Spirit.
So then, was my loneliness fixed and cured forever? No. It was not. I still lacked and missed family. I wanted to be known and to serve others. Eventually I met my wife and together we sought to be and build a better family. But we weren’t up to the task. The years went by and I was broken in nearly every way a man can be broken. I gave up my desire to “make something” of my own life. I knew, ultimately, that I could not do it. I kept following Jesus, I kept reading the Bible and realized, in time that the only thing that satisfied my soul was union with God thought Jesus. Religion failed me. Hard work was not enough. Pleasure and power did not satisfy. Only Jesus satisfied my soul.
I think we were all born with a desire to connect with our parents, out siblings and our extended family. If you have those things, it may seem enough. But it’s not. We need to be united in a love bond with God through Jesus. Nothing else will satisfy us.