Yesterday when I walked back to my office from my afternoon break, the desperate thought came to me, “God, if I don’t make a connection in my life soon, I don’t know if I can go on.” It sounds ridiculous now, reading those words, but at the time, and for the rest of the day, that night, and even the next morning, they were very, very real. This emptiness is hard. It’s visceral. It’s bone and muscle and blood pain. You want to give what you have, you want to give it ALL, you are ready without reservation, and again and again, the hand never giveth, and maybe even taketh away.
Recently, a very promising friendship faded away without blossom. It made me sad, and tired, and I dwell on it in the middle of the night when my heart rehearses its “Things I Don’t Know How to Get Over” list. My soul-sister of a daughter, who is, incidentally nothing like me at all, hasn’t been in contact with me for well over a year. My heart aches for her. I’ve heard things, and I worry about her. This blog, started in order to build a community of likeminded women, sharing their joys and suffering, doesn’t seem to be making connections yet. I feel like I’m sending out arrows, and they keep landing on parched barren land.
“What am I doing wrong?” I keep asking God, “Don’t I deserve friendship?” I’m pretty sure I do too much asking when I pray and not enough listening. I think it might be God’s nature to not hear questions because, after all, he knows he’s given the answers already.
I dwell on what a prominent fundamentalist Christian family tells other Christian families who feel lonely while living their convictions, “Jesus never promised you friends.”
Is that really how some folks see God? The Father who’d rather see us lonely than connected? Rather we suffer than draw together? I simply cannot believe that. He puts the solitary in families, doesn’t he? I have to believe that or there’d be no point. If he only wanted us to fellowship with the likeminded, how would we ever reach the ones who are ready to change their minds? I don’t think God’s heart has different rooms. I don’t think he runs a list each morning of summa cum laude Christians and cum laude Christians and fifth-year Christians and Christians on probation.
And yet, I must be misunderstanding something about God’s nature to think of my own as friendless.
God alone is alone, I wrote once. I believe that God is All. There is only One. And if there is only One and that One is All, I cannot possibly be alone. I know this. I also know that I lack the confidence to declare this every time loneliness rides up on its big black steed.
So where does that leave me? I don’t believe in a God who withholds in order to teach. He’s not up there holding back the chocolate pudding until we eat our peas. He’s also not telling me I can’t go out with my friends until my work is done. He’s just not that kind of parent. But maybe he’s saying I’m looking for something where that thing can’t be had. Maybe I’m looking for friendship to fill a part of me that can’t be filled that way. People speak of a God-shaped hole. Maybe I’m trying to fit an F-shaped friend into a G-shaped God hole, and he’s trying to tell me even while I’m cramming it for all it’s worth that that’s not the way we do things. “We” being spiritual beings; “things” being spiritual things.
This is to say, we all take up our crosses. We all bear some load we think we can’t possible bear, and we do it because we think there’s only one way up the mountain. We kind of fail to realize, though, that the point of the mountain wasn’t lugging our cross up it. The point of the mountain was the view from the top. And sometimes the only way to fully enjoy that view is to go it alone.
So, really, the healing I seek isn’t one for Loneliness. The healing I seek is for a better understanding of Oneness.
And then there will be no crosses.
And there will be no mountains. Because I’ll be able to see the view without one.