Loneliness

3 03 2010

A friend emailed me if I ever get lonely. I have such a great environment here with fantastic house parents, good friends and a great church. So it catches me off guard when I have those moments of deep loneliness. Why should I feel lonely?

  • During the church retreat this weekend I was thinking through this a lot. When I came to Spain, I knew I’d face loneliness – because I was leaving behind friends and family who’ve known me for ages and know me well. But I hadn’t really prepared myself for so many levels of loneliness. There’s the 2D problem with language – I don’t feel like I can express myself fully, so I often feel two dimensional, leaving out the depth of what I want to say. How can people be real friends if they really only know a tiny bit of me? 
  • Then there’s the cultural difference – this is a really friendly culture, but that’s not always the same as open or welcoming. Everyone says hi and greets you with a kiss; it’s not so often that I see people continuing the conversation. I a friend about this and he was surprised that I thought he could talk to people he doesn’t know. He said he feels shame and ill-equipped. Then there’s the group nature of fun here – which leads to group conversations which leads to talking at 100km/hr, raucous laughter and incomprehensible Spanish

What I hadn’t prepared myself for was the loneliness with English speakers. We’re all here battling to make our lives work in a new language and new culture, so we just can’t be the ‘ideal friend’ or ‘support’ we’d like to be or have. It’s easy to feel resentful or that and let down and to figure that they can and should help me not to feel lonely. But God’s been reminding me this weekend that actually loneliness is exactly what I was saying I would count as a cost when I came to Spain. He put the things that are complicating their life in place. He makes us different people. And He’s teaching me something by having me feel this way. 

Furthermore, loneliness, rightly understood points me to heave, to a time when I recognise fully that all my needs wants and desires are met in Him and when I live in a City that needs no light because or God is in our midst.

So when we broke up into families to pray I was reminded that I am where I am meant to be – a person who is willing to leave my family and friends for the sake of the gospel and count the cost… I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God… Luke 18:29 

I think I’m learning to grieve it, but leave it with God who had made it that way.  And when I’d finished praying this, the youngest daughter of the couple I live with came to ask me to come join their family in praying. And that just washed me with the second half, verse 30… “(No one)…will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”

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