Silent Nights and Solitary Days
The Burden of Loneliness
You are with me. – Psalm 23:4 NKJV
****** Warning ***** this will be a very real and painful look at what loneliness looks like ************** if it makes you uncomfortable – then do something about it *****
- Here are some great excerpts from Max Lucado’s Traveling Light:
- A person can be surrounded by a church and still be lonely.
- Loneliness is not the absence of faces.
- It is the absence of intimacy.
- Loneliness doesn’t come from being alone; it comes from feeling alone.
- Feeling as if you are: facing death alone; facing disease alone; facing the future alone.
I have and sometimes still do experience all of the above. It sometimes feels like a weight that has become too difficult to bear. I have felt this type of loneliness since my daughter’s death – the still quietness of the house were we lived became so deafening – I had to leave it.
Funny thing is it still follows you wherever you go. Relentless loneliness, even while in the midst of people, is a constant cross to bear. I have tried to shake on numerous occasions, and just when you think you have shaken it off – there it is. Sneaking up on you and reminding you that it will be with you always.
So what do you do with that? Lucado eludes to the fact that perhaps its God’s way of stripping you down so that He can have your full out attention. That God wants you to come to Him with this loneliness that won’t leave you. All the other noise and stuff you’ve tried to distract yourself with hasn’t really been working. I can say I’ve tried just about everything I know. Not much works. Except God.
So why am I still battling this loneliness – fear – oh yeah we discussed that in the previous blog post. Fear keeps me from experiencing connections with people. Why – I have a fear of loss that is profound – because it is what I know. It’s all I know. It has become who I am.
Lucado asks the reader to underline the following words: You Are Not Alone!
“Your family may turn against you, but God won’t. Your friends may betray you, but God won’t. You may feel alone in the wilderness, but you are not. He is with you. And because He is, everything is different, you are different.”
I can say that when I stay focused on God – I can see that. I can feel that. But it is a full-time job to stay focused on God. It is not easy to remain on high-alert 24/7 and not be exhausted. It’s so easy to turn to earthly things to satisfy the craving for love. But Lucado says this “When you know God loves you, you won’t be desperate for the love of others.”
Lucado uses the analogy of a person hungry who shops at the market on an empty stomach. So does the person who suffers from loneliness. We shop for anything that will satisfy our craving for love. Not because we need it, but because we are hungry for it. I have done that often with so many things, but in the end I still end up feeling lonely.
I have learned that when my eyes are off God, the loneliness is overwhelmingly hard to bear. The quiet is deafening, the pain excruciating, and facing the future alone is dark and scary. So you see – if you know me – you know that the life I had before looks nothing like the life I have now. The once joyous and life-loving person is now just an empty shell. Existing in a space that is narrow and hard to navigate; not the life I had imagined for myself. Would you?
But as I wait on God, I’ll try to keep my eyes on Him and not on the earthly things that have kept me from moving forward.
Until next time