Loneliness isn’t a place of lack—it’s a lesson.
A year ago my life pretty abruptly went from weeks of scheduled out activities to a blank slate. Weekly meetings were now a blaring reminder of painful decisions by others instead of community. I didn’t ask for things to change, I wasn’t given a choice. Sure, my actions made a difference, and I take responsibility for them, but they were not decisive, I was uninvited and it felt like I was unwanted.But over the last year, I realized that time of loneliness was a lesson. An opportunity to live loved when so much around me shouted rejection. People who had spoken words of life for years stopped calling in a moment. Vibrant friendships wilted with harsh words and misunderstanding. The death of friendships hurts because you mourn someone who is still alive. In the throes of upheaval its easy to forget that the ones who hurt have been hurt themselves, that they are not the enemy. When a friendship dies, no one wins.
As I look back, I know I wasn’t perfect. Could I have fought harder--probably, had more humility—always. But one of the many things I’ve learned is to have grace—that I did the best I could with the information I had at the time. Maybe someday when the sting has lessened we can try again. If they’re reading this today I hope they hear my heart and hope for reconciliation where we can meet in the middle instead of drawing lines in the sand—to listen out of love and assuming the best. But for now, I will pray for their flourishing, for their growth and joy. Does it still hurt- absolutely—faithful are the wounds of a friend. And yet, new life comes from ashes. I’m slowly re-entering community at a new church. I’m putting one feeble word in front of the other trusting that the God who brought me through last year is faithful. I’m trusting Him to be faithful and protect my heart and words—even if they’re misunderstood today. He knows and understands. If anything this last year has taught me that He alone understands my heart. He alone loves unconditionally, He alone defines my worth and my value no matter how full or empty my social calendar.
He led me beside still waters as a means of restoring my soul. The glassy lake of loneliness was not a punishment, it was provision. I am loved when I am lonely. I am heard when friendships grow silent. I am valued when gifts are decried as idols. I am surrounded by His presence when none go with me. The truth sets you free even if no one else hears it. I know I’m not the only one who feels alone—who’s been rejected, who’s been misunderstood. The still waters were an invitation that I never wanted to receive, but I infinitely needed. Living loved in loneliness is based on who He says you are—no one else. Let the still waters of loneliness restore your soul as he speaks in the silence, walks with you in the solitary, and loves you in the abandonment.