The Loneliness Monster: or what I’ve learned from a year in the desert

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So, let me set the stage for you.

Its 2017. My favorite thing in graduate school was writing. I loved defending St. Anselm’s theory of atonement, and recounting the development of this or that doctrine.

I write a new blog about once a year. And I do like it. I just forget about it. But, with a new year, maybe I got a small inspiration from the Lord to take it up again. Maybe God can use my stubborn, silly self, to help someone. Don’t worry. I’m not about to explain the five marks of a Catholic school. Unless you really want me to.

So, here I am, in a coffee shop with my 7 year old laptop with a space bar I have to POUND to space, my coffee, and my breakfast sandwich. Blogging.

Oh yeah, ya’ll. I’m just that cool.

Exactly one year ago from Dec. 31st, I moved to a strange, foreign, new land called “Indianapolis”. The Lord called me to a new place,  kind of like a a desert,–away from family and friends. The call did not come in the form of a voice, or an image. It came in the form of a job offer. When God closes 20 doors on you, you go through the only one He opens.

I think I’ve learned one very important thing this year,

Before I go on, let me just make clear. I have a great job, with the best co-workers, and the best volunteers. I have been blessed to have some very close and holy friendships, here. But I’m pretty sure anyone who has ever lived knows about loneliness.

Its this feeling in your soul when your at a party and you feel alone in crowded room. Its that feeling you get when your alone, on facebook. on a Friday night and you see those photos from that event no one invited you to. Its that feeling you get after you break up with that guy or girl and its like a piece of yourself is missing.

And then it comes. I call it “the invisible loneliness monster”. I mean, if loneliness is a monster, it’d be invisible, right? It whispers in our ear,“What am I doing here?” “Does anyone even care?” “Why can’t I be here or there?” etc.

Okay. Maybe this is all a bit emo. But, bare with me 🙂

But here’s the thing. Even if we had all the best things, relationships, the perfect significant other,we’d still feel this emptiness. People leave, die, disappoint us, screw up.

Its almost as if we have this giant hole in our heart that no earthly thing can fill. And maybe thats the point.

Our destiny is communion with the Lord. And our hearts were not made for earthly things but for heavenly things. As cliche as it sounds, we actually really do have a God-sized hole in our hearts that only God can fill.

What have I learned from one year out in the desert?

I think one of the reasons God has called me here is to encounter Him in a more real way. The loneliness monster is that tug on my heart from God that says, “Hey! Only I can fulfill you”.

The Lord wants to spend time with you. He not only loves you, He actually likes you. He’s literally interested in every little thing about you. From your coffee habits to that weird thing you do with your hands when you explain things.

Maybe the next time we are lonely, we should stop and pray. Imagine Jesus as He sees you. Spend time in Adoration. For myself, every day, every hour, I need to stop and rediscover my identity in Christ. “Okay God. Who am I? And who am I to you?” Lets see ourselves as the Lord sees us. As his creation, uniquely, beautifully, and wonderfully made.

Of course, the emptiness and loneliness won’t completely go away. And that’s okay. Because our hearts are made for Heaven.

And yeah, we are still going to feel left out, and guys and girls are going to break up with us, or people are just going to  be downright inhospitable. But, when we find our identity in Christ, it doesn’t hurt so much. We’re all in our own little worlds. We’ve lost the art of hospitality and making friends. Acknowledge the pain, feel it, and fight inhospitably with hospitality.

Hey! I’m tangenting. “The Forgotten art of Hospitality” and “Feeling the Feels”? Future blog posts?

 

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