“A lonely day is God’s way of saying that he wants to spend some quality time with you.” (Criss Jami)
Loneliness. Something I’ve felt quite a bit throughout the majority of my life. I used to think it came from the lack of love I often experienced growing up in an alcoholic family. But when I formed a new family with those who loved me unconditionally I still felt the same. I used to think it came from not being in the right intimate relationship as well. But after having been in a number of long-term committed relationships over the course of 25 years, I can say I still felt lonely during each of them too. I also used to think it came from not having enough friends, but even when I’ve been surrounded by them, I continued to feel lonely. I tried for years to fill that loneliness up with other things too like possessions, addictions, moving from place to place, jobs, and more. Each temporarily made me forget about it for brief interludes, only for it to eventually return. Because of this, I came to accept that there was no person, place, or thing on this planet that ever would fully take away that loneliness. Instead, I came to believe that my loneliness was all about me simply wanting to be home with God, wherever that is, from wherever I came from.
Why I say that is simply because I believe that wherever God is, is pure love and any time I’ve done something in this life that surrounds me living out pure, unconditional love, I’ve not felt as lonely. Like when I volunteer my time to help a suffering alcoholic or addict. Or when I sit down with any hurting individual and fully give them my attention and compassion. Or when I snuggle up with one of my cats and pet them. Or when I spend time in my gardens pruning the flowers. Or when I take a walk in the woods or on the beach. Or when I give someone a long embrace. Or when I share my addiction story to nursing classes or the Greek life at the University of Toledo. Or when I spend my mornings in deep prayer and tears. Or when I visit a sick friend at their home or hospital. I could go on.
The fact is, I do each of these things to deal with my loneliness, to overcome that constant longing to go home. And whenever I’m doing any of those things, I most definitely have felt far less alone and far more connected to something Greater, something full of a type of love that one day I trust I’ll fully be enveloped by again, where loneliness can’t exist. Until then, my solution to feeling loneliness is to find all the ways I can to offer unconditional love in the world, to others, and to myself, and to do them as often as I can. As only then, do I feel less lonely in a world where it’s so darn easy to feel that way.
Dear God, I pray You continue to help me find more and more ways to feel less alone, whether that’s with unconditionally loving time alone with just You and me, or time with others where I offer my unconditional love to them like You would. Either way, I know my loneliness will never fully go away in a life without You.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson