Horizontal Loneliness And Vertical Value

For the past 21 years, I have had to fight a constant battle with feelings of loneliness and identity because of my adoption.I had no sense of “genealogical” belonging.I felt in many ways like a refugee from an unknown culture waiting for something to come along that I could attach myself to.

This two-faced life took its toll on me emotionally and spiritually in a very serious way.I had no sense of culture, no real concept of placement as it were within the wider framework of society.I had no idea where I came from, where I fit in or where I was going.My lack of past in many ways held my future in doubt and kept me from really enjoying life so that no matter how many people were around, I was alone in my own eyes.

It was me vs. the world.My negative worldview only further alienated me from my own emotions and myself.The lack of identity and self worth drove me further from the real answers and led me only to imitations of the truth.It has been very recently that I have come to understand my own place and my own value in the world at large through the eyes of God and not of man.

To understand where you are going, you have to understand where you came from, what your history—your inheritance—is, because without that you have no anchor to hold onto.I never could come to grips with the fact that I did not know where I really came from.That is to say, I understood where my parents were from, but it didn’t connect with me on any real emotional level.

Initially it was that search for meaning that led me into the hardcore punk scene.Instantly I had family who were not blood, but who would stick by me.I had found a community that accepted me for who I was, not where I came from.I immersed myself fully into the culture, not just the music, and felt as if I had finally found where I belonged in the world, as one misfit among a million.

None of us knew where we were going or what was going to happen, and I lived fully within those confines, the security of my own protective delusions.In reality, I was aching inside more than ever to find the real “I,” but I was so incapable of expressing emotions that I channeled all that inner turmoil into my music. That seemed like the best fix, but in truth, it offered no long-term solutions.

So there I was—a refugee among refugees, unable to admit my own faults and deal with them, choosing instead to devalue my own feelings in favor of what I deemed the easy way.

My two-faced life served only to push me further into darkness. I was terrified of being alone, yet equally scared of letting down the people around me and losing them.My rebel, punk-rock mentality was constantly warring with my deep desire to be included, to be just like everyone else.

Being in effect two separate people made it harder and harder for me to look at myself in the mirror every day.On one hand I was the outsider, in need of no one and nothing (or so I would have loved to believe in all my teenage idealism) to assign some deeper meaning to my existence.On the other hand, I was in need of everyone around me to validate my very existence.To put it very simply, I needed help to bring these two sides together, to produce some sort of worthwhile life.

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When I met Jesus, there was no miracle, no immediate change in the way I saw life and people.I still favored the rebel outlook and was unwilling to ask for help. The roots had gone so deep that I could not bring myself to change because I equated vulnerability with weakness and helplessness with hopelessness.Only when I began to study the character of God did I realize that without Him I was really weak or hopeless.I would always let myself down.But He never would desert me because He could not.

I was in need of Him and the people that He had placed in my life, but I should never look around to find my value—I had to look straight up.The transition from a horizontal to vertical value-based system changed every facet of my life.My glass was no longer half-empty; it had finally come time for a new dawn in my life.It was no longer me against the world; it was God and me together, end of story.

Those around were either blessings or learning experiences, but they could never again come into such a place of importance in my own life.That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been lonely days or hurt feelings, but it does mean that, for the first time in my entire pre- and post-adolescent life, I am not lonely.I have value as a child of God; that means that no matter how hard the times get, I am not alone anymore.

He has taken me into His family, a family that all can be adopted into, where I can grow into the inheritance that He has set aside for me.This process has taken almost 22 years and is nowhere near completion, but I know that I have faith and hope within for the days and years to come that even though my earthly history is still unknown, my spiritual future is secured within His arms.I have, by His grace, the strength to dream of the future; it does not scare me anymore because I know that even though horizontally I may be alone, vertically I will never walk on my own again.

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