Saturday, April 28, 2018

What socialites don’t get about loneliness

Photo by Louis Blythe on Unsplash

At present, given my life is full of people and love, I’m possibly the worst person to write this, but it wasn’t always like this in my life.
There was a time when God drove me long into a grief so lonely I despaired even of the times I had people all around me, for they would so quickly leave my side, and there I was again, by myself, with nothing. It lasted for days enough to fill months for close to a year. But that year grew into three! And even when I was surrounded by people, even loved ones, there was often an isolated ache in my farthest soul — an unfathomable lonesomeness. Here is what I learned.
Having tried everything, all efforts failing,
I became resolved to one thing:
I couldn’t change it.
There is something most of us don’t get about loneliness unless we’ve been there for an extended season. That thing is the powerlessness of it; the unchangeability of it.
Loneliness has been described as every kind of pain all at once.
The socialite doesn’t typically look deeper than their own blessed circumstance; sorting loneliness is about calling someone over, getting into the car, or buying tickets to an event. It’s a problem to be solved. The only things absent from such a life are disempowerment and grief. It’s not their fault, and it’s not ours when life is going swimmingly.
The thing about loneliness we all must recognise
is that it’s never a choice.
It’s not like a lonely person chooses to be this way. The relational logistics of their lives have made it that way, whether by loss or lack of opportunity or by desertion or other sets of circumstances beyond their control, like the structure of their family.
Loneliness is a condition of life beyond the control of the lonely person.
The first thing a person in loneliness would do if they could change one thing is they’d wave a magic wand over their loneliness and banish it. They would give everything else that they had and convert it to love and intimacy and connection.
A major challenge of loneliness is it’s
a condition of life that cannot be readily changed.
If our lives are filled to the brim, even to the point of exhaustion, with love and intimacy and connection it’s very hard to connect with the lack of love and intimacy people experience in their loneliness.
In loneliness, there’s the absence of the right person or people to care sufficiently for us and that’s a scary prospect.
Loneliness is the constancy of fear of realised abandonment.
The hope of the person in their loneliness is the Saviour who is met through an encounter with the risen Jesus, His Presence with them, and ultimately His Presence through others, for loneliness requires practical, bodily, physical solutions.
Hopefully fellow believers’ have the desire not to leave anyone on their own in loneliness.
Socialites have a ministry of getting to know lonely people and finding ways of drawing them out in ways that work for them.

But let’s not misunderstand the point of this article: Loneliness is not a choice to be snapped out of.

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