Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I was going to post some of my own thoughts today, but I decided that could wait after I read Carolyn McCulley's blog this morning (yup, I'm referencing her twice in two days!).

Her post, called Lonely Together, discusses a little bit of what it means to feel lonely, and how common that sensation is for many people, even when we're in a crowd (she's reacting to a piece on loneliness in Discipleship Journal).

I had a good conversation with a friend about this very thing last weekend, which prompted me to go back to journals of a couple years ago when I was feeling a particularly acute sense of loneliness. So it's fresh in my mind.

Read all the way to the end; it's the last two paragraphs that struck me ... and encouraged me.

Well, no, wait, I think I'll copy her two final paragraphs, because they're just that good:

I appreciated the candor of these pieces, even as I detected some of the underlying causes for loneliness evident in these pieces: among them, comparison, social inertia, and projecting into the future (impossible for finite creatures to do accurately, anyway). These habits never bear fruit. They just stir up sin. And sin separates. But sometimes there's an underlying assumption that God couldn't possibly have anything good or redemptive for us in these moments. What if God designed loneliness to remind us that we are not home here? What if He allows social isolation so that we turn to Him for relief? And what if He commands loneliness so that from out of it, new empathy for others overflows? Would we stop to think about other people if our social calendars were already jammed?

I know someone who has endured far more loneliness than I ever will--and He did it to rescue me. Jesus was forsaken by friends and disciples alike, separated from the trinitarian community He had known since eternity past, and in physical misery and torturous pain when He cried out from the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" His loneliness I will never know, but His joy I do know in part now and will know even more in the new heavens and new earth. Therefore, if loneliness keeps me from seeking my full satisfacton and my treasure here, it becomes a precious burden.

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