Hello in There

I’ll tell you what — my mom and I were talking it about (because she reads every single one of my comments before she goes to bed) — and we were both just so amazed and touched by how kind my readers are.

Last Thursday, when I shared that Steven and I were going home to visit my family in Ohio, and that it was the first time that my family had been together since Covid (January 2020), the outpouring of kindness and well wishes and prayers offered by y’all were truly overwhelming.

I started this blog back in February of 2015 — almost seven years ago! And it’s so beautiful to see the friendships and community created here. So thank you for that, and for being so excited with me for this reunion with my family.

This was the first time I've ever heard applause after the homily at Catholic Mass. And for good reason. Sharing the big takeaways from a talk that moved me to tears. #edrecovery #recovery #faith #god #catholic #christianity #bible #family #life #love

We had a truly phenomenal time. In fact, Steven EXTENDED his trip! In the “11th hour: yesterday, he pushed his flight back a day so that he could spend Sunday supper with my family, and work from here today. I’m tellin ya…WHAT A GUY!!

This was the first time I've ever heard applause after the homily at Catholic Mass. And for good reason. Sharing the big takeaways from a talk that moved me to tears. #edrecovery #recovery #faith #god #catholic #christianity #bible #family #life #love

We did the pumpkin patch…

This was the first time I've ever heard applause after the homily at Catholic Mass. And for good reason. Sharing the big takeaways from a talk that moved me to tears. #edrecovery #recovery #faith #god #catholic #christianity #bible #family #life #love

Complete with a corn maze and llamas!

This was the first time I've ever heard applause after the homily at Catholic Mass. And for good reason. Sharing the big takeaways from a talk that moved me to tears. #edrecovery #recovery #faith #god #catholic #christianity #bible #family #life #love

It was everything I could have imagined, and more. It was so beautiful to see all the cousins bonding together. There was night where it was just the “kids” — aka my brothers and I and their wives and Steven — having drinks at my brother’s house — and that was really a special time together.

This was the first time I've ever heard applause after the homily at Catholic Mass. And for good reason. Sharing the big takeaways from a talk that moved me to tears. #edrecovery #recovery #faith #god #catholic #christianity #bible #family #life #love

But there was one moment at church that I wanted to share with you.

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I actually cried twice during Mass. I know – I was “that girl!” I actually had to ask my sister-in-law for a tissue from her purse. (Thank goodness for moms with kids, right? Their diaper bags have everything!)

But in all of my years on this planet, attending Mass without fail, every Sunday — I have never been to a Mass where the congregation clapped after the homily. Never. It is unheard of. It is just something that you don’t do at a Catholic Mass.

And well, yesterday — the priest’s homily was so incredible and moving, that people burst into applause afterwards.

Applause!

And I’ve gotta say – it was a really powerful talk.

He started out sharing the lyrics from the song, Hello in There, that his musician friend sang at a lounge the night before.

You know that old trees just grow stronger
And old rivers grow wilder every day
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, “Hello in there, hello.”

He talked about how loneliness is rampant at pandemic proportions. How many of us struggle with loneliness, or doubting that we’re loved, or believing that we’re too broken to be loved.

It’s a plight that, to some degree, each and every one of us wrestle with at some point.

And the fact that we’re incapable of raising our faces from our phones to actually see one another makes the problem all the worse.

He went on to talk about how there’s an interesting phenomena where, it’s easy to love humanity as a whole, but loving the humans in our day-to-day life — in our homes, in our workplaces, in our schools — that is harder — and often neglected — because it requires letting people get close to you.

It’s easier to love the grand concept of humanity, or strangers you’ll never see again, than to love someone who can love you back. Or rather, who is close enough to you to see the real you — who requires vulnerability, honesty, and being let in.

That is difficult.

And sitting there, next to this incredible man, surrounded by my rock-solid family – who have loved me through absolutely everything…it’s no wonder those tears were flowing.

This was the first time I've ever heard applause after the homily at Catholic Mass. And for good reason. Sharing the big takeaways from a talk that moved me to tears. #edrecovery #recovery #faith #god #catholic #christianity #bible #family #life #love

There were a lot of really lonely years there during my anorexia. Though I was too wrapped up in my eating disorder to notice — seeking out isolation and ways to just be alone with my disease, thereby not having to be accountable to anyone — I look back now, from a place of health and wholeness, and I can truly see just how lonely I was. I never let anyone in — I kept everyone at arm’s length — safe behind the stone fortress I had erected around my heart. I believed my eating disorder made me safe, but little did I know that my heart was slowly decaying. Not just because the anorexia was deteriorating it at the cellular level, but because it was atrophying from lack of use: I was rejecting love, believing I didn’t deserve it.

And long into my recovery, I kept those impenetrable walls up, unable to let people fully in.

This was the first time I've ever heard applause after the homily at Catholic Mass. And for good reason. Sharing the big takeaways from a talk that moved me to tears. #edrecovery #recovery #faith #god #catholic #christianity #bible #family #life #love

And only the healing heart of Jesus, telling me every single day that I am a new creation, that I am forgiven, that I am not my past, that He has redeemed me with His blood — only then have I welcomed love into my life.

And sitting in church that day, my heart was absolutely overwhelmed. I didn’t know this day was possible. I didn’t know this life was possible. And I am so grateful.

There was a moment this weekend, when my oldest brother was saying goodbye to Steven and I, that he looked Steven in the eye, and said, “Thank you for making my sister so happy. It gives me peace of mind knowing that she’s being treated so well. You’re a great man.”

And watching this tender moment, between my big brother – who I have always looked up to and idolized as a little sister does — say that, it was the perfect close to one of the best weekends I’ve had in a very long time.

So. Back to my blubbering self, sitting in the pews at Mass, during an applause-inducing homily…I have been there: a shell of a person, lonely to the point of decay.

How sweet life is, when you open your heart to others. Open your heart to love. And only then, does life truly begin.

This was the first time I've ever heard applause after the homily at Catholic Mass. And for good reason. Sharing the big takeaways from a talk that moved me to tears. #edrecovery #recovery #faith #god #catholic #christianity #bible #family #life #love

To hear my story, click here.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

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53 thoughts on “Hello in There

  1. I’m so glad you got to be with your family, Caralyn! And this post really does reveal the need for a sacrificial love for one another. A love that can only be given once we receive it from Christ.

    1. Aw thank you Emily! Yes!! That sacrificial love is such a needed (and rare thing) thing to fin these days. I agree. It stems from Christ. So glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  2. Never applauded a homily, never cried either, but I’m a guy. That’s my excuse. But “Hello In There” will grab anybody. It’s a John Prince song. And it strikes at the heart of a worse pandemic than COVID-19, loneliness.
    Who are we kidding? We treat people like commodities in this culture, disposable and replaceable. And the pandemic exacerbated this problem.
    And your family carries the cure.
    By the way Bette Midler does a very moving version of this song.

    1. Hi David, yes! That song was powerful. And to hear how he wove it through his homily was something else. You’re right – loneliness is a worse pandemic indeed. Family is the cure for sure. Oh nice! I’ll have to look up here version! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! Hugs and love xox

  3. There was a song about this in the 1960s called “Easy to Be Hard,” and nothing much has changed, despite all the tech. It’s easier to “love” people we never have to actually be in the same room with than to knock on a neighbor’s door to offer help. It’s even harder to ask for help. Wonderful post! 💖💖💖

    1. Oh I’ll have to look that song up! You’re right about that – letting people see the real you is always more difficult that giving or loving from afar! Thanks so much for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  4. Hi, it’s the Canadian fellow who was spending many Mondays and Thursdays reading your excellent blog. This week, on Friday, you had a “like” for me on a post I had published in the very early hours of the morning. I was happy to think that you are “content” with the input you’ve had from me.

    I visited one of your September posts, and I pressed play on the YouTube speech you gave that summarized your trials. I had a good time when I was making the opportunity to read your blog posts in “real-time,” and I was appreciative of your positive comments. My participation in your blog began to wane when the pandemic was more and more clearly here to stay.

    I’m continuing to blog. I’m just aware that the world is in a rapid state of change.

    It is nice you had a wonderful catch-up with your family. It is nice that good things happen to you. I am already looking at my own behaviour and wondering how I can be a better person if I have the likes of you saying a prayer after welcoming me!

    I am glad the time lost hasn’t been too much that the connection is gone. It is like returning to a safe point coming back to your blog, and that is nice.

    1. Hi Odell! It’s so great to hear from you! First of all, I want to just say how much I’ve appreciated you sharing your heart and taking time out of your day to read my blog. The pandemic has been a total and complete upheaval and overturn of our lives as we know it. And the role technology and “virtual connectedness” has definitely taken a toll – at times clinging to it, but mostly digital fatigue, so I definitely here you. Know that i will absolutely be praying for you!! Thank you again for your kind words about my blog! I hope you have a wonderful Monday evening! Big big hugs xox

  5. Oh my gosh, what a wonderful thing your brother said about Steven, Caralyn! I love the photos too, so sweet. Be safe! ☺️

    1. Wasn’t that such a special moment? And my brother isn’t a “sweet talker” — he says what he means and means what he says! I was so moved. I almost got choked up at that too! Thanks si much John, for joining me in my excitement. You’re a great friend! Hope you’re having a great Monday, and that your weekend was restful and enjoyable! Hugs and love xox

      1. Aww thank you, Caralyn! I like your brother’s style – a real man thinks that way. I am so happy for you and both of you! Virtual hug from Las Vegas. ❤️

  6. Thanks for sharing the joy each of your family has in each other. It’s a rare commodity in today’s selfish world and refreshing to know there are still some with family bonding and values.

    1. Hey Ian! You’re kind to say that. And you’re right – it is something i definitely don’t take for granted. It is a rare commodity, just like you said. Thanks for stopping by, and i hope you’re having a great Monday! Hugs and love xox

    1. aw thank you Ang! Oh yes! It’s her favorite thing to do. She says it makes her feel close to me, with me living in nyc and she ohio. It’s one of many points of connections. And i agree with you – it warms my heart too! 🙂 thanks so much for stopping by! Hope your week is off to a great start! Hugs and love xox

  7. Ah, my little sister in Christ, it’s wonderful to see you happy and blessed, and to bless us with your testimony! Never be embarrassed by your tears. Tears are a powerful reaction to a lot of things – anger, fear, hurt – but they are the greatest testimony to LOVE. Often young men are taught ‘real men don’t cry;’ but Jesus wept, and His tears of sorrow were born out of LOVE. I pray that God blesses you and Steven and all of your families!

    1. Hi Myron! Aw, thank you so much! Yes! I am so grateful to have had such a wonderful respite at home — tears and all! haha you’re right about that – a testimony to LOVE! Thank you for your prayers and kindness! Hugs and love xox

  8. I know that overwhelming feeling of gratitude for family, for meaningful moments in church, and fir love in my life. I understand those tears. Been there -fine that. And you know what? It’s more than ok!!

  9. I saw a young girl, anorexic ill, her legs sticks, I couldn’t ever remember seeing a girl this skinny and i wondered, what advice to give to anyone or what to write, then you post your history, i will read it in time,but recent revelations on FB, remind us, that our words matter,hope your health is light and bright,amen

  10. Caralyn, B3 has been around that long! I looked back and saw that I wrote Beauty and ED Beast in January of 2016. We first “met” online in late 2015, 6 years ago. You read my blog, gave me a like, and the rest is history. Thank you for opening your heart to me back then and letting me play “dad!” I’m so glad you now have Steven and that you had such a great family reunion.

    Olivia came down from Columbus, so it was the first time in 3 years that we’ve all four been together! It was great to see her and show her around. We had a celebratory dinner at a high end place called the Highlander. Olivia was recently promoted at work and is now on a VP’s team. Hillary is now enjoying a full time job at an urgent care clinic after countless years of struggles. It was the perfect weekend for us all to be together!

    Again, thank you for letting me be part of your life. I’ve gotten back so much from you…you’ve been a blessing!

    1. Hi Jeff! I was thinking about you all weekend with all your family together, and praying it was a wonderful time – and it sounds like it was – and more! Oh, that is so great, a huge congrats to your girls! Such exciting news. And wow – thank you for such kind words. Isn’t it wild how our friendship began!! Seems like, simultaneously just yesterday, and also so long ago!! What a journey! And i am so grateful that our paths crossed that day, and a beautiful friendship/”dad-ship” was born! 🙂 have a wonderful afternoon! Hugs and love to you and your girls! xoxo

  11. And why did I cry too?
    Because you are so true, all you said are true, specially that loving a real person who can love back, or sometimes reject us.
    Thank you.

    1. oh my gosh you are too kind! thank you so much, friend. Yes – love can be a scary, yet highly rewarding thing!! Hugs and love xox

  12. Having followed your blog (and social media) for several years now, I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see you so happy! May God continue to bless you, your life, your family, and your love. Big hugs to both you and Steven from me.

  13. Thank you so much Carolyn, for sharing and including us readers in your joy.
    May the Lord pour down upon you, Steven and your lovely family. Thanks again sister! ❤ ⚘

  14. That’s a John Prine song off his debut LP in the early 70s. Some wonder why so many artists and music lovers made such a fuss over his sad passing recently but that’s because they don’t realize how many people were deeply moved by his insightful lyrics and simple melodies. I’m a long-time admirer of his and am glad to know his influence still lives on via his God-given talent. When he affects priests and pastors you know God used him for His glory! May he rest in peace.

  15. My heart warmed and tears of compassion filled my eyes while reading this. I’m so happy for you. I believe our salvation is not of our own doing but solely by Gods. I’m so happy that you have the Lord and so much love in your life. God is so good and He takes care of us. 💕✨ love you sister

  16. We those personal links and discoveries as we progress on our journey through life.

    Loneliness isn’t the possession of older people, most people are lonely today because they have constructed the walls that limit them.

    To get beyond that we have to understand the bible principle that God is close to those who obey his laws and keep his commandments.

    Your posts often touch others because of your emotional vulnerability and desire to help others through troubles, but remember we have a choice, and how we exercise that choice affects the life experience.

    1. Thank you so much for this powerful reflection. You’re so right about that – God is close to His children. what a beautiful thing to remember. Hugs and love xox

    1. thank you so much Temiloluwa. You’re so right – that priest was spot on. Brought me to tears! so glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

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