Lonely. What is it about that word that makes people shudder in fear? "You're lonely!?! Oh no!" Its as if they just heard their friend had a terminal illness.
lone·ly [lohn-lee] adjective
1. affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome
2. lone; solitary; without company; companionless
3. standing apartLoneliness is definitely not a new feeling to me. Being a survivor of homeschooling I knew loneliness well during high school. I can even pinpoint some times in my life that were darkened with loneliness, perhaps you can too. If you can't, then well you just aren't human. So if loneliness is something we all experience at one point or another then why are we so quick to try and fix someone who is feeling lonely? Well, probably because being lonely sucks.
Being here in Poland for the last 3.5 months has definitely held different degrees of loneliness. There are days when I see something so bizarre that I just want to share it with a certain friend back in Colorado and I am reminded that I can't just text them anymore. It will have to wait until I get home and log on to Facebook or Twitter. There are days when I just feel homesick. I just want to hang out with some friendly faces and let loose for a night. Be American. Then there are days when I reminded by people around me that I am single and I get that deep gut feeling of being alone. You know the one that makes you feel like a Jr High girl full of hope but hating every girl who has a boyfriend. Yeah that feeling is the worst.
When I was thinking about writing this blog I looked up the definition of lonely in the dictionary (posted above). I think most often I get stuck in the first two definitions. But when I saw the last one I stopped to think, "Standing apart."
You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. Leviticus 20:26
Know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call him. Psalm 4:3
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. Jeremiah 1:5I thought through all the times I had heard God "setting apart" something for his special use. Over and over again God would choose a person and "set them apart" from everyone else. Powerful it is being "set apart" by the creator of the universe.
But I don't think everything just stops at being set apart, we have to "stand apart." That's where God's will and our life mesh together, creating action.
Everyone wants to hear they are special, but we live in a world where we want to be special just like everyone else. We get lonely when we start looking at our "set apartness" as something strange or unfulfilling. Sometimes we don't even go looking for it, sometimes the world just tells us. Like how you can have a great day and then hear a song on the radio that just reminds you that you are not like everyone else. Or maybe its the 5th person in a month to call and ask for congratulations on their engagement. Wham. Reality. I am not like everyone else. Now I am lonely. Fail.
But if we truly believe that God has set us apart for something grand and awesome, what can we learn from seasons of loneliness? I don't think being lonely is a sin, but I think its when we forget who we are and whose we are. We're human and sometimes we get a little lost and confused in our heads...then we get stuck there, feeling lonely.
I don't know how to fix being lonely, or if you really ever can. But next time I'm just going to take my dog for a walk through the bustling streets and remind myself that I'm not completely alone, I am just set apart for something special.
Hi. My name is Mallory. And I am set apart.
The important thing to remember is that if we are all alone, we are all together in that too.
-P.S. I Love You