“I’ve been
so lonely,” I say, my words like a sigh, laying down a heavy weight. 

“How long
have you felt this way?” she asks.

hardly a pause before the answer rises, “Always.  I have always felt this way,” I reply.

She nods, open
and accepting, in a way that removes the layer of guilt and wrongness I’ve laid
on top of the loneliness and welcomes it simply as what is.


“What I
noticed,” he said as the interview was closing, the none-too-difficult
questions answered, “is a real loneliness.” 

We were
discussing an autobiography I’d written as part of the application
process.  We were wrapping up and his
words, more of a comment than a question, were brushed off with a quiet, “Yes,
I guess that’s true.”

But his
observation reverberated like the striking of a gong and it was all I could do
to hold back the tears for I was ashamed of my loneliness. 


Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone . . .” Genesis

Loneliness was the first thing
that God’s eye named not good. – John Milton


Loneliness is an unwelcome guest, so the first thing I do, on
impulse, is judge it.

“What’s wrong with me? Why do
I feel this way? What am I doing wrong?”

I use these judgments like shock therapy, a straight forward attempt
to jump start myself out of the land of alone.

Sometimes it works.  Sometimes
it doesn’t.  And loneliness, she’s got my

There are days that I carry her, like a child strapped to my
chest.  Yes, loneliness, I feel you, you are here.  When she grows too heavy to bear, I pray.

“God, I feel so lonely. 
Please, help me.”

Sometimes the weight is lifted, sometimes it remains.


Yes, your loneliness was a
presence I often felt during our times together. – a counselor I once knew


God sets the lonely in
families. Psalm 68:6 (NIV)

“I write about my loneliness
so that others won’t feel so alone in their loneliness.” Henri Nouwen


as I observe it, manifests most often as distance, an absence and in this way
loneliness also is the fruit of desire. 

itself is a doorway and when I am finished judging, finished bearing the
weight, I welcome loneliness in, ask her what she wants. 

“You,” she
says, “I’m lonely for you.  You have been
gone so long from yourself, please come home.”


stands at the doorway, waiting, long into the night, her lantern flickering;
hers is the flame, the siren song that calls me home.

So I return
to where I am. 

loneliness lead I am returned home, standing in the sunlit kitchen, my hands in
soapy dish water or sitting in the living room while my children swirl
around.  Loneliness leads me back again
and again through the doorway to the present where I find the presence of
myself, the presence of God and my family set around me like so many shining

This post is linked with Playdates With God and Unforced Rhythms.

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