“The person who fears to be alone will never be anything but lonely, no matter how much they may surround themselves with people. But the person who learns, in solitude and recollection, to be at peace with their own loneliness, and to prefer its reality to the illusion of merely natural companionship, comes to know the invisible companionship of God.”
― Thomas Merton,
There is Presence in peace and Presence only in loneliness. The pathway to God is necessarily through loneliness, for God may not be experienced devoid of His Presence, and His Presence is only apparent when all else is stripped away.
Sure, we may read His Word and pray eloquent prayers, but the Presence of God is something to be experienced in His fullness. The Word helps, so does prayer, but so does the context of the history of our lives, in the midst of the pain we endure, through observances of nature, and of contemplating creation, through thought of our relationships, and what this could all mean.
It’s only when we become the loneliness we existentially feel that we learn we’re able to transcend it.
Rather than running from our loneliness, a key cue of which is boredom, we’re to embrace the nothingness that otherwise feels so despicably foreign.
In feeling empty, and in staying in that place, we invite the Presence of God. Taken into that void we experience the reality of God. All the better with pain. Bleeding and lonely, God comes out, if we’ve been genuinely seeking Him to find Him (Jeremiah 29:13-14).
So, there you have it. Pain is good. So is loneliness. Both, together, are key to experiencing God, Who, by faith, will make Himself known by His Presence.
God makes Himself known to us through His Presence, through pain and loneliness, by faith big enough to pray. And knowing God is peace.