WARNING: We gon' get real deep with this post. I know I write about a lot of strange things but sometimes I have words that just need to get out.
* * *
If there's one lie that is so easy to believe, it's that we are completely alone in this world. Since moving here I've experienced a lot of loneliness in a lot of different senses. I've experienced the literal loneliness of not knowing anyone in LA to the loneliness of just being by myself in different places, walking around from shop to shop, along streets I've never been to, driving in a car with no music, down the highway at sunset. These times are bittersweet. They always amplify the homesickness that lives somewhere deep inside of me, but they are also precious to me. I need alone time. I think everyone needs alone time. I never understood how people can hop from relationship to relationship--to me after a breakup, I need to be alone for awhile. Being alone can be healing.
Sometimes I find myself sitting alone at a table in Starbucks, on a cushion at the mall, or walking while doing errands. I'm "alone" when I go for a run, when I drive to work, when I sit in my apartment and read. Isn't it amazing how in a city so big like LA or NYC we can feel so small and insignificant?
This loneliness can be stifling and suffocating. It can change my mood from smiling and care-free to inexplicably sad. Today as I was sitting in church I was reminded so greatly of how God never leaves me and whenever I am hit with one of these moments I just feel like crying. I am so ashamed so much of the time. I am blown away y'all. I was sitting there worshipping the Lord when it once again hit me how I don't deserve any of the blessings I have. I stepped off the airplane here in Los Angeles on August 27th. I had minimal savings. No car. No job. No apartment. No friends here. Nothing but my faith in God. And now I have a car. I have an apartment. I have friends, an amazing awesome wonderful new job. I wake up everyday with breath in my lungs and still I doubt God's plan for my life. Isn't it ridiculous? How nothing in this world will ever truly be enough to satisfy?
When I was lonely I prayed to not be lonely. When I was without a job and a car and any sort of stability, I prayed for those things. And now that I have them, I am still unsatisfied. And it's because nothing worldly will ever satisfy the thirst of my soul for something greater - my heart will always long for more. I will only be completely satisfied when I am face-to-face with my Savior in Heaven.
But each day here I want to live with a thankful heart. When I sit in those lonely places - a crowded Starbucks, an emptying street, walking beneath the rare California gray sky - I look around at the people passing me. My mind reels knowing God loves each one of them individually and beyond all human comprehension. Pastor Tim preached about loving one another last week and I was convicted. I do not love well. My prayer is to learn to love well, to love better, to love the way Jesus loved.
When I look back on my life, I don't think I'll care about any of the petty anxieties and worries that continually trouble me. I think I'll remember the people I loved and who loved me. The important stuff. And remembering that through it all, I was never alone. I'll never be alone. God never promises us an easy life. Actually, He promises the exact opposite of an easy life. We WILL face trial and tribulation. That is guaranteed. But you know what else is guaranteed? That Jesus will be right there with us and will never leave our side. I am so humbled by this I want to fall on my knees. It is the most beautiful thing I have ever known.
"Christianity doesn't deny the reality of suffering and evil... Our hope... is not based on the idea that we are going to be free of pain and suffering. Rather, it is based on the conviction that we will triumph over suffering."
- Brennan Manning