I feel like the reoccurring theme in my life for the past month or so has been a deep and dark feeling of loneliness. Not that I haven't had wonderful beautiful people around me all the time to encourage me and hold me when I need it. It's not that kind of loneliness at all - it's much deeper than that. The kind of loneliness I've been experiencing is the consistent realization and the undying truth that the things around me - people, travel, money, school, success ... they're worth nothing.
I know people say that all the time "You can't take it with you when you die" but I think there are definitely moments in your life where you just have to take a deep breath because that truth has never felt more real. When you lose a loved one, when you're heart has been broken by someone, when you are abandoned, when you are broke - for me it's in these moments of weakness that God is building us up the most. I feel so strongly in what my mother has always told me: "There is purpose in your pain." I'd like to talk about a few moments where this feeling of loneliness is at it's peak.
For me, in travel, these moments happen a lot. I don't know about everyone else in the world but I literally feel cursed when it comes to travel. I have the worst luck and I've experienced everything from unplanned 10 hour layovers, to sitting in a plane that wasn't moving for 5 hours, to having my plane turn around 30 minutes before landing. I find that airports and traveling just in general, when you're alone like that, and all you have is your brain and maybe a book, you think. I know it makes me think. Think about my life, where it's headed, what I'm doing. Am I making the right choices? Am I being the best I can be? And I start feeling vulnerable. I start realizing that there is nothing in this life I can hold onto.
My friend Riley explained to me the experience of bungee jumping. I can't say I have ever done it but he said that before he jumped the people working there told him there is a moment, X number of seconds into the free fall, where people literally have accepted death. They come to a place in this quick jump and for a split second, they believe they are going to die and they accept it. This is pure vulnerability. It's the feeling of absolute loss. It's the feeling of surrender because there is absolutely nothing you can do.
This experience, I believe is incredible. Because once you come back up and realize you're not dead, it must truly be the most exhilarating feeling in the world.
One thing that makes me feel very alone is the feeling the no one understands my heart. I have to admit that my mom understands my heart better than anyone in the world, but when people don't, and your heart is feeling something really heavy, it's such a devastating feeling when you know others will not completely know you inside and out. Not even my mom truly does. This happened to me only days before I left, when I came to the bitter realization that people will not know me inside and out, and that I am alone. It's just me, and this heart, and it's mine, and this is my first and last time to live.
It reminds me of the song "Deathbed" ... the man is just lying here in his deathbed. He has absolutely nothing left to hold onto. His entire life, he threw away. He lived, but he only scratched the surface of the kind of joy intended for us by Jesus. He is lying here in his death bed and he says "But I cling to the hope of my life in the next." and I just think this is such a powerful moment in people's lives but I wish that people felt that vulnerable all the time. I wish we acted like we were on our deathbed everyday ... because then maybe we could all realize what is truly important.
Today in church I couldn't help but get choked up as the pastor interviewed a couple (who have two kids) who have been through a lot of emotionally difficult and horrible times as a result of drug abuse in the man's life. And as they told the story, I first realized how everyone has a story, and how vastly different, but how beautifully the same we all are. It's a connecting theme in all of us - pain. And he neared the end of this glorious story about how he really had to make a decision to give his life to Jesus in order to have any hope at all. And at the end, he tried to tell the congregation about what his son told him, and he choked. He couldn't even speak the words because it was so difficult. His wife continued "Our son said, Dad, me and mom have been praying for you for a long time. I'm so happy you gave your life to Jesus. Welcome home dad."
In that moment of the service, I felt a high emotional anxiety about how little I have without Jesus. And how now would be a really great time to start praying more and trying to find contentment and joy in the sweet surrender, and sacrificing my independence for his Glory.
God is the only one who understands my heart... truly, exactly, in the imperfect way that it is.
He is with me in the airports even though I'm all alone.
He won't let us fall.
And he pulls us out of the muck.
He's such a rock of mine, and I hope this summer continues to give me that vulnerable feeling so I can know more what God's grace really feels like.