Monthly Archives: February 2012

Loneliness

In case you hadn’t noticed, Valentine’s Day happened a couple weeks ago, and, thanks to a comment I read on Facebook, the idea of loneliness has haunted me ever since.  I didn’t write it down, so I can’t quote it exactly for you, but it went something along the lines of loneliness being a stop along our path, not a final destination.  It was actually written much more eloquently than that, but that’s the gist.  And it rubbed me the wrong way.  I’m not sure why; it’s not like I’ve done a great deal of thinking about loneliness, but I’d apparently inadvertently done enough that I instantly disagreed.

Now, granted, I’m not the average American.  For instance, I don’t think that ALL pain is bad for us.  In fact, I’m a rather avid believer that God often not only allows, but welcomes pain into our lives in order to mold us into the beings He’d originally designed for us to be. He often uses pain to help us become the most develop version of ourselves that we can in this broken universe.  And so, while I don’t always welcome pain, I think I don’t flee from it as much as many people around me.  I don’t see it as a curse.

And loneliness fits into that.  Loneliness, is, after all, painful.  But what if my loneliness ISN’T a bad thing?  I know most people say that loneliness is that longing to be known, to have someone love you – even after knowing all the wonderful good and slimy junk that makes up your story.  Which, I’d agree with.  I know most people say that loneliness is ended when a person finds their “soul mate”, or the one that makes them complete.  But I have known many a married person (with wonderful spouses) who STILL have lonely days.  And, when that husband or wife doesn’t fulfill the needs of the other, often there is a lot of bitterness and anger.

But, what if humans can’t take our loneliness away from us?  What if no human can, no matter how kindred of a spirit they are, or how very close of a soul mate they are to you?  What if that’s not their job?  Because if so, then we’re getting angry at each other (and breaking up relationships) over something those relationships were never meant to do, over something those people were never able to do.

What if, WHAT IF our loneliness is our soul longing to be back in communion with Christ the way we were originally intended to be at the beginning of the world? In Eden?  What if that longing is the desire to be one with Christ?

Than all of our expecting mere humans to fulfill that desire is idolatry.  Than our trying to block out our loneliness is really us trying to replace God with boyfriends or movies or food or video games or being in shape or cars or shopping or volunteering or sports.   And that’s not good.  It keeps us from knowing and embracing the masterpiece that God intends each of us to be.

So my challenge to you is to stop trying to avoid or drown-out loneliness.  But the next time it comes around, welcome it.  Take some time out and pray, or be still, or go on a hike and talk to your Creator.  Draw close to the One who knows you better than anyone ever could (even a husband or wife); cuddle up with your ultimate Soul Mate, the One you were created for.

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Valentine’s

I thought a reflection what God’s been teaching me might be appropriate this week, since this is the “week of love”, or something like that, thanks to Valentine’s Day.  Honestly, I love Valentine’s Day.  It’s my favorite holiday.  Now, having just said that, if you don’t know me, you’re probably thinking that the reason it’s my favorite is because I’ve always had some wonderful guy to make me feel special on this chocolate-filled day.  But that’s not true.  Not once in my over-a-quarter-of-century number of years have I had a guy make me feel special on this day, except my father when I was in fifth grade.  But that’s a story for another time.   I take Valentine’s Day and have fun.  I wear something I feel pretty in (usually something new).  On my way home from work I stop and buy myself a flower or two and a nummy dessert (this year will be cheesecake!).  Then, after dinner I’ll curl up with a good movie and savor my cheesecake.  I always go to bed feeling loved, beautiful, and special.

It took me a while to get to this point though.  I have a poem I wrote a couple years ago entitled, “Happy Singles Awareness Day” that is a bit…bitter.  It’s taken me years (like, a lifetime) to figure out that really, despite what everything around me tells me, all I need to feel loved and special is to accept the love of God, my Daddy, my Beloved.  I was sitting in Bible Study Saturday morning with three other wise women, and one commented on how when she was a little child, she never doubted that God loved her.  It wasn’t until she got older that she began to wonder.  The others agreed.  And I just sat there.  I don’t remember ever thinking that God loved me when I was younger.  I mean, I knew He cared, and I knew He loved me because God is love so He couldn’t help but to love me.  But… He didn’t love me AS MUCH or in the same way as He loved everyone around me.  I knew God had placed me on this earth to be a vessel He would use to love other people, not to be loved myself.

I’m not sure exactly where that crazy idea came from, but it affected me and how I lived my life.  I think God got sick of it though.  He began working in my heart, creating a desire to KNOW that I was loved by Him beyond all doubt.  And then He placed some insightful, wise women in my life who insisted that I learn to accept the fact that God (and they) loved me.  It took some getting used to.  You can’t just un-believe something you’ve believed your entire life.  But I worked on it, and now, a couple years later, I KNOW that God loves me. It’s only been in the last year though, that this has become a solid fact in my heart.

There came a point this last summer when I stopped everything and told God that if He really did love me like everyone had told me, then I wanted to know it. I wanted to be as aware of His love as I was of my own name.  I screamed that at Him until I had no more strength to scream.  And then I cried.  That’s generally my version of wrestling with Him. And I’ve gotten so much better.  It’s been a process; and one I’ll probably have to work through for the rest of my life.  But it’s better.

And partly that’s because I realized that God is sending me love letters all the time.  He’s showing me He loves me in every sunrise and sunset.  In every flower that crosses my path.  In every un-looked-for hug from a friend.  In every reason to laugh. In every warm cookie or cup of hot chocolate.  He’s there.  Reminding me that I’m special and He loves me.  I just have to open my eyes and accept that He really and truly DOES love me.  And I maybe need to take time to watch the sunrise and sunset more often; He’d probably enjoy that.

Anyway, all that to say, if you’re feeling unloved this week, maybe it’s because you haven’t been looking around you.  Maybe you haven’t been taking the time to notice all the little love notes your Lover has been sending you. After all, if you don’t open them, what good do they do?  You wouldn’t leave a valentine from your boyfriend unopened would you?  So go open the ones from God.

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