Loneliness. It is a state of being that forms a cloud of insecurity around your heart and your mind. When you are in that cloud, you feel like there is not and there will never be someone who will care enough about you to be your true friend. You feel as though everyone you meet has already sized you up and found you wanting.
I can't help but reflect on loneliness now. This morning, as I have a moment to breathe in between the hikes and coffee dates and beach days that have filled this week, I feel so much gratitude. Loneliness is not a stranger to me. I know that cloud so well that when I stop in this silent moment to think about it, I am a girl standing amidst the chatter of a dining hall, grabbing a bagel and scarfing it while I walk to class so that I don't have to sit alone. I am a girl who feels utterly different than everyone around me, praying that I will meet just one person who will understand me and like me. And it is painful to be that girl. Loneliness is not something to wave away. It is a big deal. A very big deal.
I have a theory about loneliness. I think that everyone is a wee bit lonely, or even a lotta bit lonely. I've come to this conclusion after years of deep, qualitative research... mainly happening through conversations over a coffee cup. What I've learned from talking to other girls is that we all want friends. But here's the thing about friends - they are not all created equal. Many of use have friends who are good for a laugh or to sit beside during the staff meeting. But we are still lacking friends to whom we can admit everything is not fine. We are lacking friends who will love us even when we cry ugly, big fat tears. We are lacking friends who pray for us and check in with us and care deeply for us.
Oh my good golly, life is hard. I don't think for a second we were designed to do it alone. To someone who is deeply surrounded by that loneliness cloud right now, it might be hard to imagine that there is someone you could do life with. I too got quite used to managing on my own for a time. But yes, I tell you - you were made to live in community with others. Chances are, those others are feeling a little alone, too.
And if you are in a season that has even one beautiful, lovely, and true friend - feel the gratitude. And then, look around. Could you be a beautiful, lovely, and true friend to someone else? It doesn't take much. Just some extra thought. Some extra prayer. A text to ask how her day is.
Whenever there is great joy, there is also a touch of sadness. This morning, I think of the friends God has given me in this season and I feel overwhelmed. But I also remember times when I did not have any. And I'm glad for the memory, because it helps me to spot a lonely soul, and to know what she feels. Even loneliness has its purpose for a time - but we must not stay in that cloud forever. Let's all become the friend that our own hearts are craving. Let's show up for each other. Life is too hard to tackle without a great girl friend.