Struggles with Loneliness.

Lying in bed with the flu this week, I was reminded that I am a lonely girl. That may be news to some of you who know me because I’m fairly gregarious, but two moves in four years to opposite sides of Texas has exposed a familiar condition.

I do a lot of stuff alone, always have. There are consequences.

Thank God for Sam. As he loaded up my sick-bed with books, kleenex, Emergen-C and soup, I wondered out loud, if he weren’t there, who would I call to help me?

“Of course, there are people I could call,” I said.

“Yah but you wouldn’t,” he replied.

He’s right. I’m an independent girl and I occasionally overuse it, maybe to hide some native shyness. Sometimes it’s easier to be separate and aloof, but the perils of that approach come into sharp focus when you’re lying in bed with nothing to do but ache.

Though my bible sat next to me on my bed, I just was too sick and cranky to read it. It felt like a chore, so I did easier things. I watched Sex In the City reruns. I read Vanity Fair’s comedy issue. I painted my toenails and finished a novel that was mostly a trashy waste of time.

Here were the mental results of that approach:

“Damn, I need to move to a big city, develop a snazzy writing career and find girlfriends who are perennially available for cocktails, maybe then I’d quit being lonely and scared that my life is meaningless. But what if Sartre is right, and I’m looking for meaning where there is none and making a fool of myself to the secular world by writing about it?”

Yikes. Can you believe I think things like that, and then say them out loud? Me either.

This morning, still feeling sorry, I tried a different approach. I went into my office, shut the door and waited for the God I say I believe, to weigh in. I know from experience that praying over my fears can lift the fog and yet, I still look to Sex in the City first.

So I sat in virasana – a yoga pose that looks a lot like kneeling, and said, “God Help. I’m lonely”.

“You know, I will never leave you nor forsake you. That I’m always with you until the end of the age. I know every hair on your head and your steps are ordered by Me.”

Did I “hear” God saying that?

Well, those are scriptures, four to be exact, pertinent to my concerns, that I have read dozens of times, and they whistled to mind like bottle rockets. So is that God talking?  I think so, and as if to back it up, I felt my heart steady and peace begin to fill my body. It’s hard to describe but it’s the kind of feeling I imagine hens have when they finally settle down in their nests.

Why didn’t I do that yesterday?

Waterfall

Photo credit: enor

What is the point of suffering the irrational leaps required to believe in an unseen God, if it doesn’t help you manage your daily life? My traditional methods of dealing with loneliness – eating junior mints, reading magazines and watching silly tv – didn’t work. Praying did.

Those are the broad and narrow paths between which I constantly choose. I write about stumbling around because, unlike a some Christians, I’m short on certainty and I only want to serve you what I’ve eaten myself.

I know following Jesus makes no rational sense and today it’s one of the least fashionable choices one can make, but when I do it with heart, I feel whole and calm. Maybe even ready to go join the quilting club.

I offer this experience for your consideration.

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8 thoughts on “Struggles with Loneliness.

  1. Very sweet Erin. I’ve been there, and isn’t it amazing how those scriptures just manifest in our mind, soul, whatever it is. I just know it always seems so hard to go there, but then is the easiest thing in the world.

  2. Oh Erin…I get lonely too. It’s a terrible feeling and I would also watch “Sex and the City” when I could get that channel…although some of the scenes are embarrassing, I like the camaraderie of “the girls.” I’m so glad Jesus showed you He is always there for you, as He is for His daughters, sisters…those who seek to follow Him. He understands when we get lonely in this life. Sometimes it just hurts. How are you today? I hope things feel less lonely soon. Moving can give us the blues. But I like to read what you write because I relate to it and you are very honest and vulnerable. Rare and valuable traits to have. I hope you keep writing when you can:)

  3. I definitely find a spiritual practice helps (for me, that’s yoga). Being originally from Germany I just moved from the UK to Australia and the thing that keeps me on track is yoga, meditation – and writing. And I always remind myself that there’s only one thing worse than feeling lonely – feeling lonely when there’s lots of people around you don’t connect with. All the best for you!

    Andrea

    • Andrea, I hope you can come to Texas and practice with us. We have a great new studio and a good little growing community. love that you are addicted to savasana…me too!

  4. Lonely in a house full of 13 people….heart achingly- crushingly -paralyzingly alone. And always because I am trying to prove I can live without God….and turning my back on the one thing/person who fills the empty space in my soul.
    Hugs – it’s Monday again.
    Go with God.

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