I have been struggling with loneliness. My circle of friends keeps getting smaller and smaller. I wanted to backpeddle and see if I could fix that but I didn’t even know why it happened or how to approach correctly or even if it truly was about me so much. I have had to stop trying to figure it out and leave it as one of those things to work through trusting in God and His plan.
I was told by a wise someone that I should look at this time of solitude as an opportunity. Focus on opportunity rather than struggle. Look on the bright side (as I always say to my kids). She said to very deliberately turn my lonely feelings into an attitude of getting a chance for aloneness…or being alone with God. Like a kid from a large family getting to spend that prized alone time with a parent. She said from a different lens the painful, isolating times of loneliness will draw me closer to God and that will help make me a woman who has something new inside to give to others.
That counsel reminded me of something. There is a story by Marjorie Williams that kind of depicts this truth. It’s called The Velveteen Rabbit. In one passage the toy rabbit and the toy horse are talking to each other:
“What is real?” asked the stuffed rabbit to the stuffed horse. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the stuffed horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the stuffed rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the stuffed horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are real, though, you don’t mind so much.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the stuffed horse. “You become real. It takes a long time and a lot of pain. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or who have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and are very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all because once you are real, you can’t ever be ugly except to people who don’t really understand.”
I so want to have something to give and someday impact someone’s life for eternity. Perhaps in my struggle if I can take this advice and focus on the opportunity rather than the struggle. I pray I am one that doesn’t break easily and one that doesn’t have to be carefully kept. I pray that the reward is immense in the eternal sense. In a world of facades, I pray I will be real; that even if I appear shabby to the world, I will have the inward beauty of one who has been with Jesus. I pray that the pain of loneliness will during this time turn into something real on the inside of me that looks even on the outside exactly like love.
This walk is an interesting one. Wouldn’t call it easy but I sure wouldn’t trade it.