Learning from Loneliness

I used to live in a house with some fierce women and we spent our evenings eating dinner in the kitchen floor while laughing, crying, yelling, or praying.

Now, I come home to a quiet apartment, to the hum of my refrigerator and the buzz of the light above my stove.

It’s cozy this time of year. I turn on my Christmas lights and wrap up in my chunky gray blanket. It’s quiet and peaceful; there is a lot of time to think pray. I do a lot of that these days, a lot of eating take-out food and talking out loud to the only one who can hear me.

There’s a lot of sitting with my own thoughts. I’ve learned more about myself in these months than maybe in my entire life. I’ve learned a lot about staying with myself, being patient, laughing at my quirky tendencies, forgiving my breakdowns, talking through my frustrations, trusting my gut.

It’s an interesting thing to see how you’ll react the first time you have to call someone from maintenance to repair something, or how you’ll respond if/when you accidentally forget to pay a bill. How hard you fight when everything starts pushing against you. You will surprise yourself and suddenly find out the kind of adult that the childhood version of you grew up to be.

Some nights you will get texts from other friends or see pictures online of everyone eating meals together and you will feel the sting of not being there. There are responsibilities you carry now: work, school, freelance, bills, groceries, laundry.

It will hurt. You will learn to sit with yourself in the pain of working through loneliness and it will hurt. You will reflect on all the times in your life when you weren’t alone. You will regret all the times you chose to be alone when you could have called on others. Because now you don’t always have the choice.

You will think about the movie you went to see by yourself years ago, how you bragged that you were so independent. You will think about the person who told you, I would have gone with you” and you will hate your youthful pride. The pain of wishing they could say that to you now will settle deep into your bones.

You will put up your first very own Christmas tree and it will make you squeal with joy. You will be proud of it. But no one will will stand next to you to share that joy. You will sit alone and you will learn something beautiful about yourself in that moment. 

You love Christmas. You love trees. You love making things beautiful. Beauty can and should still be enjoyed alone, you’ll learn that a lot. You will instantly remember all the times in your youth when you acted like Christmas and decorating was an inconvenience. When you had other things you needed or wanted to do and you will realize that you never want to be that person again. You never want to be the person who thinks celebrating comes too early and who hurries to get it over with.

Loneliness can be one of the best things and worst things to ever happen to you. I’ve found out that I am one of the funniest people I know. I am the worst grocery shopper on the planet. I hate laundry with a fierce passion. Washing dishes calms me. I am the kind of person who has a junk drawer. It is necessary to have 7 shampoos in the shower at once. Bonefish has really good Sunday brunch. I feel weirdly guilty when I use paper towels. I use a lot of paper towels. I like wearing tennis shoes. Every night get really sentimental and teary when I’m turning off all the lights and getting ready for bed. I enjoy myself. I’m learning to stay with myself and to fight for the person that I’ve become and am hoping I’ll turn out to be.

I’m sorry I didn’t ask you to come to that movie.
I really love Christmas.
I might be looking to hire someone to do my laundry.
You should all invest in stock in Bounty.
Sit with yourself, stay with yourself, fight to become the kind of person that sometimes only loneliness can teach you to be.

 

 

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The Guest Room: To The Ones We’ve Hurt

Dear Hurting, 

You wonder how I know your name – oh, it’s written all over you. You’ve been hurt, and no matter how you try to mask your wounds, you are hurting.
 
I see you.
 
I completely understand why you would resent “Christians” and maybe even God himself.
 
Who could blame you? You didn’t deserve what happened to you, and you don’t deserve what’s happening now.
 
Years come and go. It’s been a while since you experienced that first hurt. But you’ve never forgotten the horrid sensation, and you are determined that to never let it happen again.
 
What’s worse, is that the people who are supposed to be “the good ones” do nothing but judge you. They judge you because all they see are your actions – actions that speak clearly of the pain you’ve endured. Pain that now lives behind doors of arrogance, independence, and numbness to anything representative of that “god person” who people rant and rave about.
 
This probably doesn’t mean much coming from me, a stranger who rants about God on the daily; but, the people whom you knew and trusted were a misrepresentation of Christ, to say the least.
 
Jesus’ sole purpose and desire for you is that you would know His love. A true love. It’s a love that doesn’t inflict cruel pain. A love that only brings joy. A love that lasts forever.
 
Deep down inside, you knew there was something wrong about the kind of love that you were shown. 

I’m here to tell you: you were right. That isn’t what love looks like.

It isn’t what actual Christianity looks like. And it definitely isn’t what Jesus looks like.

Dear Hurting, I want you to know that your deep wounds are not too deep.

You are not a lost cause.
 
When you first take steps to heal, it will probably feel uncomfortable. You’ll be uncovering bumps and bruises that you thought were gone; the truth is, they were merely bandaged up, never properly dealt with.
 
The pain you’ll feel in revisiting the circumstances that caused your scars is only temporary.  It’s like rubbing alcohol on a cut – it burns like crazy at first, but the sting is well worth the long term benefits, like protection from bacteria, infection, amputation, and even death. 
 
Allow the Holy Spirit to be your rubbing alcohol. 

Dear Hurting, I apologize.

I apologize for ignoring you, for judging you, for hurting you. 
 
You probably never expected to hear that – especially from me, one of those who caused you the most pain. I apologize on behalf of all Christians who failed at showing you the powerful and unrelenting love of the Father. I apologize that they left you to do life alone after simply diagnosing your “issues”. 
 
It hurts. It hurts like crazy, huh? To be rejected, lost, confused, abused, abandoned, afraid, and in the midst of all that, alone. 
 
I don’t want to make excuses for why we sometimes lack compassion. I know that some of us seem to live a life completely opposite of what our Bible teaches us. I can’t make any excuses because there are none.
 
But it hurts me almost as much as it hurts you – and it hurts God even more.

Finally, Hurting, I can not heal you. 

No person can. And anyone who tells you they can is lying. Don’t trust them. They’ll only leave you in more pain. 
 
If they’re not speaking truth and walking in love and only pointing you to the true One who can heal you – don’t trust them.
 
They are like wolves in sheep’s clothes – our common enemy’s weapon of choice. They’re not the real thing.
 
The only one who can heal you, redeem you, change your heart, forgive your sin, and make your future more abundant than you could have imagined is Jesus – a love greater than any love you’ll ever know.
 
I’m sorry. Sorry that these aren’t the words you’ve always been told. I’m sorry that they told you they could fix you, give you all the right answers, heal you.
 
Dear Hurting, will you forgive us?

Dear Hurting, will you let LOVE heal you?



Profile PictureKristina Smith. At 31 years old, I still have the faith of a child. I’m obsessed with love and all the power that it yields when given & received in its most pure, raw, organic, & natural form.

Currently residing in the on & popping city of Gainesville, GA (see: sarcasm), I work for Adventures in Missions, a non-profit Christian missions organization, and am committed to unveiling hidden potential in the missionaries that I disciple. 

Instagram: @krissi1908