We Are Never Truly Alone – Reach Out

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I have never served in our armed forces, though both my grandfathers, uncles, and my dad are veterans. Our family never talked about what my dad went through when I was younger. 

There were always glimpses of that part of his life growing up — memories of older, faded, sepia-toned pictures taken from Vietnam, memories of standing with our hands over our hearts for the national anthem, memories of visiting a family friend that was my grandmother’s age every time we went back home to Pennsylvania to visit family.

I remember even as a child sitting on Freda’s couch and looking at a picture of a young man in his Marines dress blues that sat prominently on the top of her television. That young man was my dad’s best friend, and while my dad returned from Vietnam, Larry did not.

Both Larry and my dad were barely 18 when they enlisted together. They had planned to serve in the infantry together, but my dad had horrible shin splints, and his drill sergeant noticed even though he kept going in his training. So, instead of serving alongside Larry, they ended up having my dad drive a truck while there, a decision that, I believe, probably saved his life and allowed him to come home. My dad’s older brother also served in Vietnam, and while he did return, he did not stay with us much longer after he came home. My uncle committed suicide after returning home, years before I was born.

While I can’t speak personally about what it is to go, serve, see things, and come back home, I do know what it is to feel a deep loneliness, to feel that no one understands the things that you have seen, the paths that you have walked and the hurt that you feel. The hopelessness that sometimes overwhelms your heart is a heavy burden that at times we simply cannot overcome on our own.

In those times, I lean into the truth found in the pages of the Bible. Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

No one can promise us days where the hurt, loss and loneliness aren’t more than any other good feeling. But none of us have to walk that road alone. We have a God that calls to us, offering hope through these difficult times—a God that walks with us in that darkness.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:2

“The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:8

No matter how alone we may feel, we are never truly alone. All it takes is reaching out, calling out. There are those around you who care who want you here.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self harm, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800-273-8255) or reach out to someone you trust for help. If you need prayer or just some extra hope and encouragement, send an email to stories@dayspring.com, where someone on the DaySpring team will be praying over you.

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