In the loneliness of life there is a strange invitation: To stand naked and alone, and know that you are enough.
In the safety of friends, in the cradle of community, we can draw comfort from our lovely qualities. I’m so friendly. I’m so helpful. I’m so entertaining. I’m so creative. I’m so self sacrificing. I’m so wise. Therefore I am a good and lovely person. But when we are lonely, we stand stark and uncomfortable in the dreadful sense of our own Being, distinct and separate from all the other beings; then, there, in the spotlight of our own strangeness, if we have the radical courage, we can know that we are complete.
That’s something different.
Somehow we can’t get to that strange place of individual essential worth until we sense that we are alone.
This isn’t the selfish, stiff-necked, individualistic way of being “Complete” that is so common in Western society. This isn’t the, “F- that. I don’t need nobody!” seething self-containment. This is the way of being whole which knows that it is really part of a bigger story. “Here I am. Created by God. One wee thread in the tapestry. United to you. Pieced together in a story. Luminous and meaningful just as I am, because he loves me. Enough.”
Loneliness corrupted makes us want to curl into a ball of shriveling self-worth. “Nobody loves me; I am unloveable.” and “I don’t know my place in the world, so I don’t have a place anywhere.”
Loneliness redeemed invites us to stand up, lift our eyes “to the hills from whence our help comes”, and know the strength of being essential as we are. Beautiful because we we are created in love.
Loneliness corrupted makes us say, “No one loves me. I will withdraw.”
Loneliness redeemed says, “I am loved alone. Unvarnished. Endlessly. So I can love unlimited.”
Loneliness corrupted drives us deeper into ourselves and away from others.
Loneliness redeemed drives us deeper into ourselves, and we find something universal there. A shared value. A shared bewilderment. A shared hope. And low and behold we find ourselves able to connect to the great big family of humanity after all… giving from a more firmly rooted place of being loved incorruptibly.
I think loneliness finds us all at some point in time. Introverts, extroverts, ambiverts. City mice and country mice. But when loneliness finds you, I hope you find love. Your truest identity.