Lately, I have been lonely.
Life post-grad is a season of instability, and the twenties are like a decade-long stage where the backdrop is constantly shifting. College is composed in years of apartment hopping, where the living space changes, yet your partners in crime do not; Friends at finger tips, roommates on speed dial. The people you love are never more than a campus-length away. Then suddenly, graduation happens, and those same friends you used to steal food from and split pizzas with are scattered across the nation, across the globe. It’s difficult to find the words to express so great a loss.
I have just recently transitioned from five years worth of living with friends to living back with my parents in my childhood home. And although there is something calming and nostalgic about returning home, and finding it pleasantly unchanged, I miss my people. I miss my other family.
This past year, my family consisted of three other girls, three other beautiful, strong, radiant women. Three friends who blessed my life in wonderful ways. I dearly miss them. I miss coming home to Beth’s song-like voice after a long drive home, and I miss Kelsi’s curly hair and perfect pancakes. I miss waking up in a fifty-five degree townhouse to find Hilary downstairs cooking in a hat and mittens. I miss rushing home from life group to indulge in recently recorded episodes of The Bachelor. I miss lazy Sunday French press mornings that would end up being too lazy, because despite being only seven minutes away, we could never, ever make it on time to church.
I miss that hot tub.
I miss the grace.
This loneliness is real, and I can’t escape the truth that we were made to be with other people; we were made to live with others who know us and love us and see us through our worst. It’s true that people can love us and choose us, even in the ugly. And it’s true that people go crazy when withheld from love, a slow unraveling of the psyche. We were not made to make it through this life on our own.
“It is not good that the man should be alone…”
I am lonely for people, yet my loneliness is unearthing something entirely deeper- a longing of the soul too loud and too primal to ignore. The heart longs to be known, to be held and cared for by mindful hands. My loneliness speaks to me in a million different ways and the truth echoes from a thousand different corners of my inmost being. My loneliness points me to find a way to fill it; it points me first to humans. And when that undoubtedly fails, after I have tried to fix the hole completely with fragile human hearts, I realize that we are all lonely foreigners of this land, wayward souls with hearts set on other-worldly destinations. The void in my heart that loneliness brings is temporarily filled by friendship, but eternally filled by God.
Suddenly it all makes sense: the reality that we are beings made in the image of God, a God who confusingly and unexplainably exists in three coexisting parts. Father, Spirit, Son. God Himself needing no one, yet existing in Holy Trinity. God Himself choosing to be in relationship. And mankind, birthed from celestial love. My loneliness is an eternal issue with a temporary fix; a problem rooted in humanity with a solution floating in heavenly realms.
I wonder if my lonely longing wasn’t placed to steer me towards my Maker, towards the only One with the real power to mend and make me whole, the only One who knows me completely. How it is a deliberately placed longing, a good longing, wiring me to seek after the One who planted it. How He gives me people, like gifts, to share in this communal sense of lonely, to share in the joy of relationship with likeminded beings. He blesses us in His image with the ability for friendship and even marriage, knowing it is but a shadowing, a foretaste of the reunion that awaits for those in Christ.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.”
My longing is real, yet it is a desire in disguise; one that masquerades as one thing while hiding the truest:
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” -C.S. Lewis