I counted last night and I’ve moved seven times in less than half as many years. I’m a nomad. I’m a vagabond. And I have to move one more time. However, this will be the move to end them all. For awhile. I found a house over the weekend and you wouldn’t believe my relief. Not only is the search for a new house over, but I’m tired of uprooting constantly. However, this post isn’t about a house, or even a building. It’s about being lonely. It’s about the struggles of lonely people that go unnoticed, ignored.
The lonely social
I’m not your textbook extrovert, but I need people around me. While living with my dad the past four months or so has been a real gift in many ways, it’s also been a bitter trial. But this is the chain of events I set in motion the day I got my DUI. I needed a way to get to work, appointments and court. My lease was ending and I wanted to save up for this house. It was a conscious decision I made and I’m grateful to have had the option, but it’s not been without the drawback of loneliness.
Jesus the solitary
For those of you who’ve studied the book of Mark, you’ll notice Jesus is often noted as going off alone to pray. Did I mention often? However, while He was alone, he was never lonely. He had the Twelve with Him most of the livelong day. But, He, as we should note, needed solitude. He needed to spend moments, extended ones, with the Father. But, He was with the Father. Physically, He was alone, but He always had His tight-knit community nearby.
Moving from lonely
Community, people, is why I’m excited to be moving one more time. I am ready. I’ve been ready to have people around me and to appreciate them like never before. I’m dying to share meals, tears, laughs and shouts of joy with these people. However, without the darkness, how can we appreciate the light? Friends, the dark of being lonely has done that for me. And I wouldn’t have realized it if not for a friend asking me that very question.
No place for the lonely
Jesus said there was no place to rest His head and that we were to expect the same. But this doesn’t mean we should settle for loneliness. No, and that is the lie. In fact, His words are even more encouragement to find community and grasp onto it that much harder. We face much adversity in this world, but have no home to run to for shelter from it all. That is, we have no shelter on this cold rock. However, we have our Father and He has given us others to shelter and uphold one another. This is what we have. It is what the Christian life was always meant to be. And we have everything we need.
Inevitably, we will become lonely at one point or another. Friend, it is one of the chief attacks against the body of the Church. Loneliness is not a weakness or sin, but an attack. It is what happens when we are deprived of what we need most on this earth, community. Our greatest need is a healthy relationship with our Father, but as far as things available here, we intrinsically need people. When we don’t seek them out, we will suffer. And what a few long years has taught me, is that this suffering is not to be ignored. Community is important enough that we must be vigilant daily. We must cling to it as our lives depend on it. Without it, we are only partially alive. And this is no life at all. We were not meant to live lonely.