Lonely. It's one of those words that quickly loses its meaning if you dwell on it too long. And if you're bored enough to dwell on a word like lonely, chances are you're feelin' it.
I've been really struggling with the feeling lately. About five months ago, we made the decision to leave our church of nine years and return to Metro Life, a church that has undergone some major leaf-shedding and regrowth in recent times. Their roots are deep and their branches are sturdy. But man, do those leaves grow in clusters.
At Grace I only have four close friends - friends who know literally everything about me; good, bad, and worse - but I know almost everyone on a level that goes deeper than "Hi, how are you?" We all know each other's birthdays, middle names, and favorite colors. We scuffle over which clique gets the new kid - which is pretty pointless because the cliques mash together more often than they're separate. Granted, we grew up together, and as a baby church, we want others to feel as if they've grown up there, too.
At Metro, I have one close friend. I share "Hi, how are you?"'s with maybe fifteen other people. Two of those are pastors, three are from the youth group, and the rest are friends of my parents. Metro is almost twice the size of Grace. So why do only - at most - three people know my favorite color?
If you're reading this and you happen to go to Metro, please don't think I'm condemning you. It's my own fault. I've stood on the outskirts after church service and at youth group countless times, trying to muster the courage to burst into a group and blast out enough charisma to keep them from walking away. Then, without fail, I say "Hi, how are you?" to my three people, make a beeline to the car, and kick myself all the way home.
I'm not helping myself at all. I enjoy being alone, I tell myself, but I know I don't. There's a big difference between being lonely and being alone. On one end of the spectrum, being alone is hiding out in my bedroom for some quiet time while my family bustles about the rest of the house - that's the alone that I enjoy. But on the other, the side I'm convincing myself I'm on, alone is having no one to turn to, no one to love. Being lonely just means those people aren't with you.
I've locked myself in a room of self-pity, totally convinced that my friends are gone forever and I'll never make new ones. I'm sucking on the key like a pacifier. One of these days I'll wipe off the saliva, unlock the door, and ask you what your middle name is. But feel free to knock down the door if I take too long.
~Charli Rae |2 Corinthians 13:14|