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Dutch Viking,

Reading your posts, Leopard’s from South Africa, Proteus55’s from Greece, and others, gives me hope yet at the same time I find it depressing. It’s at least somewhat comforting to know that we’re not alone in our little immediate sphere’s of existence, with much evil and craziness around us. Why that’s comforting, I don’t know for sure. But perhaps it’s a matter of not feeling entirely alone – knowing there are others outside our immediate vicinity that really do understand, or at least can significantly empathize even if our struggles are not the same as their exactly.

I tend not to have a lot of close personal friends though I’m friendly with many. Probably my wife is my only truly close personal friend. Yet I appreciate being around others that are generally of like mind, and there are many in my immediate vicinity that at least share the same values I do.

But one thing I’ve really come to appreciate here on the Forum is the greater degree of understanding not only what’s happening, but why, and a sense of being able to do something about it. Oh, we may not be able to largely shape the larger world, but we don’t have to roll over and give up – there are many things we can do for ourselves and our families for those that have them. And while I certainly cannot fully comprehend what Selco went through, because I’ve never been presented with the circumstances he endured, I can at least appreciate the fact that he found ways to keep putting one foot in front of the other until he finally emerged on the other side and had the freedom to go on with his life, to be able to earn a legal and moral living for himself again (instead of bare survival), help others where he could, and above all, keep his sense of self worth and the will to live on. If he could do it, why not me? And if I’m too old to make it all the way, I can at least keep putting one more step ahead of the previous one until someone ends the journey for me – and even that won’t be a defeat, because I didn’t give up.

Unless or until that time comes, this place, like few others, provides a place for people all over the world, in various circumstances (some like yours, Leopard’s, and a few others that are very bad), to get together and in a very real sense establish friendships, even if there are rarely any full names, addresses, or phone numbers. That’s just a normal precaution when we don’t really know who’s at the other end. Still, there’s a level of trust and respect here, even when there is a bit of friction, where we can feel free to come on and vent, support, offer ideas, or sometimes just read (“listen”), and know that we’ve been “listened to.”

You mentioned in another thread that you haven’t had a friend in a very long time, and that spending time in the woods, alone, is sometimes good therapy for you. Understandable!! Whatever it takes. Just recognize that there are supportive people here who may not be able to physically put an arm around your shoulder, sit eyeball-to-eyeball and listen intently, and be what the world typically defines as a “friend,” yet you know here that you are indeed among friends. If this doesn’t work for you, I can respect that – just understand that it comes from the heart none the less: you are in my prayers for relief if possible, or at least peace and comfort while going through it. I suspect others here feel, in their own individual ways, much the same sentiment.

Don’t be a stranger. Keep checking in. You’re certainly welcome here.