Monday, January 30, 2012

it’s not the alone, it’s the lonely.

I reconnected with my friend, Mary, for lunch a few days ago.  It was delightful.  She is a dear friend with a delightful personality, fun stories, and has depth of insight and faith.  It’d been awhile, so we caught one another up on our lives.  We shared the joys and the struggles of being two awesome, single women.   We paused for a moment and she said something profound.  “Ya know, I can handle being alone just fine.  It’s the lonely.  The lonely is what is difficult.”

She's so right.

There aren’t too many times that I get lonely.  I do fear it, though, now that I live on my own again.  It’s one of those lies that the enemy really tries to attack me with.  “You’re alone and always will be.”

Friday, I woke up with the same high fever I took to bed with me.   I rolled out of bed and went to the clinic, hoping it was just strep throat and would be dealt with by a few minutes with a doctor and antibiotics from the pharmacy a few isles away.  The PA looked concerned after seeing my 103 temperature and seeing that I couldn’t seem to grasp a deep breath.

She sat down and looked me in the eye.  “You have a really high fever and I’m concerned you have pneumonia.  I’m going to send you to an urgent care to get a chest x-ray.”  She continued on with how she’d call ahead for me and told me she just wouldn’t feel comfortable sending me home without getting checked somewhere else.  She printed out directions for me and sent me on my way.

I walked out to the car in shock.  I was scared.  I’d only known old people or really sick people that got pneumonia.  Some of them even died from it.   Then it happened.  The lonely set in.  “I have to go to this scary doctor and get x-rays by myself.   I don’t feel well.  What if I hear his directions incorrectly?   What if I have to go to the hospital?  I’ll be there alone.  Even if I don’t, I’m going to be home by myself for a few days.  My mom is 600 miles away.  I hate doing this by myself!”

Well, a few days later, I now know a few things that maybe we both can learn a little bit from.

1.        Being lonely is terrible.  It is not the way we were intended to be.  God designed us to love and serve one another.  We weren’t designed to fly solo.  Think of shut-ins in your community, people who live alone, moms who spend long days with young children.  Be someone who invites others to come to your house or invites yourself to theirs.  Let God use you to love the lonely. 

 2.     I am not alone.  Neither are you.  In times like these, or even just regular days when the imagination gets going a little too quickly, it’s really easy to let the enemy trick us into believing we are.  You are not alone.  This is a promise that God has made to you over and over again in Scripture. 

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths,[a] you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast.  Psalm 139:7-10

We train our hearts with God’s truth so that it trusts His promises instead of our feelings.  You are not alone. 

3.     Stop being lonely.  I hate it when I catch myself saying “I’m getting used to being alone.”   I get really frustrated with myself when I realize I’ve thrown a huge pity party for myself, but still think to invite no one.  What I’m getting at is, if you’re lonely, reach out to someone.  I know there are people I could’ve called that would’ve come with me.  I’m too prideful to “inconvenience them.”  Guess what?  People usually don't mind being inconvenienced to help a friend.  I’m embarrassed that I’m not strong enough to take care of myself and all of this on my own, but guess what?  I’m not.  So, lonely people out there, let me hit you with something hard.  Ask for help.  Tell someone you’re lonely.  Let someone love you.  You aren't a bother or a chore.  Fight your fear and invite someone in to the messy parts of your life.  They can help with the clean up and I guarantee it won’t feel nearly as lonely once you do.  Life is so much better lived that way—in messy, real, beautiful, loving, chaotic community.

So last night a dear friend, Tabitha, asked me what she could do to help and instead of saying, “oh, nothing.  I’m fine.”  I told her.  I would love meals and company.  Today, she and two of her kids came over.  They raced up and down my hallway as she made me food that will make me healthy again.  My house was loud and filled with coloring pages and crayon marks and I loved it.  It was crazy, awesome love (and really good food, too).  Great medicine for my soul.

Because really, we’re all sick with something.  We might as well get honest about it and ask for help.  Things aren’t so lonely that way.

No comments:

Post a Comment