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?
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.