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Loneliness is only-ness

“Loneliness is only-ness; only you, only me-but never the two of us together.” These are the words of the 34 year old me newly moved from North Carolina to Texas, trying to follow Jesus. They were part of an assignment from my therapist.

“Loneliness is only-ness.” These are the words of the 58 year old me as I deal with the post-holiday blues, holidays which I spent with my widowed sister watching her cry as she told me, “It is so hard to come home to an empty house, not to have anyone to talk to.” It is a pain I know well and have perhaps grown inured to because I have been so long alone.

“It is not good that the man should be alone…” These are the words of God and so on some level I must acknowledge that He understands my sister's tears and my own and those of those whose spouses have deserted them. I must believe that He hears and cares about the cries of those who feel alone even in the midst of family. “Loneliness is only-ness” and we were not made for that. He created us for communion, for community, first with Him and then with others.

However, just now following Jesus seems a lonely business. The prophet Jeremiah says, “Because of your hand upon me I sat alone.” I know that feeling and I confess I am at a loss as to what to do about it. I cry with and for my sister as she negotiates widowhood. I cry for myself as I watch Mr. Carson proclaim his love to Mrs. Hughes on Downton Abbey. I cry out to a God whose very nature is community. I stand in this place of pain and worship the Lord believing that our tears are precious to Him, so precious that He collects them all in a bottle. (Psalm 56)

I worship because He deserves it and all at once I am reminded of the great cloud of witnesses that worships with me and I know I am not truly alone. Graham Cooke often says that he believes that lamentation is the highest form of praise. So with the high praises of God in my mouth, I choose joy!


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