Jesus was lonely.
The twelve disciples, men that Jesus had spent his last three years with had deserted him. Gone. It doesn’t say in the Gospels how Jesus reacted to their vanishing act, but if it had been me I would’ve been angry, hurt, fearful and full of why’s. Every day for the last three years, bang! they disappear after all he shared and given of himself to his disciplines. Jesus knew ‘his‘ time was approaching, and though he was committed to doing His father’s will, I wonder if he experience loneliness. Whether it was rejection or abandonment. In Jesus’ case, it was probably both.
A friend of mine is lonely, but instead of trying to understand why she is lonely, she has chosen to check out online dating sites. I suggested to her that she not run away from the loneliness and all that it entails, but she isn’t interested in what her emotions are attempting to tell her. Sometimes feeling a certain way can lead you to understand what you’re feeling, and what to do about it. Putting a Band-Aid can aid in the healing, but after a while, the Band-Aid doesn’t stick as good as it did in the first place.
Some people chose drugs or alcohol, but I believed if no one saw me then that would solve all of my difficulties. I didn’t and I wouldn’t be anyone’s problem. Why did I want to isolate myself when the very thing; being with people was what I needed. In many ways, I had no idea what I was really doing to myself by pushing others away. Behind the loneliness lay rejection. It was my belief that who I am was rejected by my Dad and others after him, and so I locked myself away from those who I feared would hurt me. I wanted to isolate and protect myself from what I wasn’t comfortable with, from what I didn’t understand about the world in which I grew up. Repeatedly, I rejected the idea of how God made me to be, I did so, so I could push away the pain.
I’ve learned first hand how emotions can teach us what we need, but I’ve also learnt how easy it is to hide from these markers. I know now that how my anger and fear spoke into the truth that I was seeking for my life, and continually, I would push and ignore to keep going on – to appear normal.
Sorting out what are my needs vs. my wants isn’t always easy in a ‘can’t wait until tomorrow, I want it now’ saturated world. Discipline of the impulse gets a push to the back of the shelf because it’s not cool.
We hide out our loneliness as a kind of leprosy that inflicts us on inside, and it’s something hasn’t escaped anyone. The thing is most of us don’t know what to do with our loneliness.
I still can get surprised by feeling lonely, and stuck in the loneliness, before I can climb out of it. And by climbing, I mean of out myself because it’s usually means I am bemoaning myself. I wasn’t made to be alone, the Lord wants His children to be in community, but that has become a difficult situation with all the technology we have. Facebook, Twitter and the like will never take place of a good friend, someone who you can laugh with, share with and allow those tears come – if need be.
I love getting together with a friend in a coffee shop and catch up on what is going on in their life. Listening and hearing what may be their crosses or joys. This works for me, and it fills me to the brim and more. It might be old-fashioned but some things in this every changing minute by minute world shouldn’t because it’s our relationships in our lives that ultimately heal us.