like losing an old friend

There's a woman I've been thinking about lately. At one time, she was one of my favorite writers. She wrote about her family, her dreams, but mostly about her faith and her relationship with the church, and she wrote with a generosity that made you feel trusted. Confided in. And most palpably, her writing made me feel not alone in the midst of very isolating circumstances.

The other writer stopped writing, at least publicly, for awhile. Then she came back. Almost any day of the week I can find some bright, cheery glimpse into the beauty of her world, but all mention of her faith journey has ceased. And I feel so alone, even more so than when her voice had gone silent. For months I've been struggling with these feelings of disappointment, loneliness and ultimately fear that I might become just like her.

What do you do when the path you're traveling, the questions you're asking and the thoughts you're thinking seem too personal to keep setting out on public display? What else is there to say? I keep being reminded of how Henri Nouwen always said that "what is most personal, is most universal". I wonder, if we aren't willing or able to say what is most personal, will we cease to generate that universal understanding in the world? Will we succeed at nothing more than leaving one another with the experience of being alone in our troubles? And furthermore, if I were brave enough to write what is personal, what would that be? Am I telling the truth to myself, or have I fallen into my old pattern of trying to look like my life is perfect--and trying to look that way even to myself?

I'm just wondering about this today.