Today I Woke Up Lonely

It’s not that I woke up feeling alone…it’s that I had a feeling of extreme loneliness.

How can this be when I am married to my best friend, usually accompanied by a small child, and have a teenaged daughter who actually chooses hanging out with me once in a while over friends? How can this be, this deep feeling, when I have some of the best friends on the planet, family, blood and extended, that are all sorts of awesome, and a beautiful community of friends, past and present, on-line and on Facebook?

How can I feel loneliness today, to the point of tears, when I’m in a town of over 20,000 people?

The feelings were too raw, so I confessed them to Jason in the middle of the kitchen, he plugging away at his computer at the other end of the table.

She said: I’m so lonely.

He, doesn’t say a thing, but walks over and holds me close.

She said: When you are talking on the phone all day, do you actually feel like you’ve BEEN with those people, like you aren’t alone, but together? Does it fill that for you?

He said: Adrienne, when you work from home like we do, you have to be intentional about connecting with friends…

She said: I miss my face to face friends…the ones who have my heart.


But this isn’t my town and, though I’ve loved these people for 25+ years, they have their lives and routines and friends and pursuing them to breathe the same air at once feels intrusive…almost presumptuous, as if they wanted to spend time with me.


This season of “houselessness” we’ve embarked on isn’t all galavanting around France and jaunts to Australia or wherever. Sure, those are fun and exciting things that have been on my dream list for years.

But more so, this season is a space of learning. And I’m learning, even more, the necessity for the practice of empathy. I feel this deep loneliness because something in this town is crying out to my soul. I hear these cries in the faces that smile and keep pressing on in the grocery store and at the coffee shop and at the kids’ games.

“We’ve always been a fiercely private people…these walls are comfortable…don’t broach them…”

Sure, on the physical, tangible side of things, I just want to carve out a day with my girls and walk for miles, go grab a great bite to eat somewhere new, open a bottle of smooth red, and share hearts. But they live in Colorado and are hanging out without out me.

My empathic heart senses I’m not the only one who hears the cries or feels the loneliness, in this town, or any town, for that matter.

So what will practicing empathy look like today when I really just want someone else to practice it towards me?

It will look like vulnerability…like telling Jason I’m lonely, then calling or texting a couple of friends, not in expectation that they remove the feeling, but just to share my heart, and saying, “Friend, I’m so lonely today. Thanks for being in my life…thank you for loving me…would you like to hang out?”

What Imprisons You?

(*Warning, if you watch this video, you might cry. Here are the lyrics)

I’m wrecked by this video. Like, I’m choking tears back in this public space I’m calling my office today.

This song has been on repeat for more than a year now…along with the rest of the epic album, but I guess some days we are able to see, hear, or view something from a different perspective. Never once did I imagine this video to the words I’ve replayed…

So, any of you who have been here for a while know I’m a die-hard U2 fan, but I’m not a creeper…I don’t wear blue sunglasses or black leather from head to toe or know the names of every one of their family members, though I think Ali is the backbone of the whole operation…well, the God she loves…but, I will let you in on this: besides maybe the fact these are songs written and sung by a bunch of men, the songs of U2 are more often than not, the cries of my heart…it’s my own journey I picture when they sing. So many of their songs I sing to God, just He and I, face to face, no secrets, nothing hidden. Other days it’s them cheering me on, like to get on my boots, that I’m beautiful, how I’m always thinking about the end of the world, how the death of her was not the death of me, that my voice is meant to be heard, reminding me how the ache in my heart is so much of who I amhow I must free myself to be myself...

U2 puts melody to words I could only dream of expressing.

Before I came to “work” today, I was thinking about “The Test” of Jesus in the wilderness. I’ve read it dozens of times, but wanted to open it up a bit, through the lens of empathy, because it was there in the wild where Jesus was tempted by everything we would ever be tempted with. Honestly, I had to go back and see if it was a simultaneous fast/temptation. I had to confirm the timing of when Jesus was at His weakest, physically, and when Satan showed up to entice Him with really awesome things like sustenance, abusing God’s grace, and power over the earth’s kingdoms.

Part of me was hoping the Test happened during the last few days of the fast, like while He was prepping, but before He was totally ready…

In The Message the wording is, “Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights.”

But see, it didn’t. He prepared. Jesus’ eyes were open, even though His vessel was empty. The Spirit led Him into the wild for the Test…Jesus prepared for it because the Devil was ready to dish. He prepared for it, I assume, as an example to us of the day to day choices we’d be faced with one day…

The Devil is always ready to dish, whether we are prepared or in the midst of preparation or even when we aren’t ready for it. Jesus exposed his schemes: The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy.

Jesus follows this scary, fearful statement with TRUTH…life-giving truth, HOPEFUL truth, chain-cutting, unleashing, FREEING TRUTH,

I came so they can have real and eternal life,
more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

Logistically, I’m not sure how Satan and Jesus and Holy Spirit scheduled this meeting, other than looking back to a book most people avoid reading, because they think if they read it, it’ll happen to them, too. You know, because avoiding hard and painful things make them magically disappear…but in the book of Job, God and Satan have a couple of exchanges where the life of Job is center stage. I don’t know, I wasn’t there, but I imagine it could have been arranged this same way…

I don’t know how God works. He made me, not the other way around, but I do know this: I am tempted on a daily basis, whether blatantly or, what I suspect, subtly. Gone unchecked or unconfessed, I think our temptations slowly build momentum. We don’t necessarily have face to face encounters with the Devil himself out in a dry arid desert to be enticed with things that make us feel good. There’s plenty of battle that goes on in our minds and hearts…but the thing is, there they aren’t real yet…hence, our need to expose it to God, or confess it to another before it becomes more than it is.

In the U2 video short above, Woody Harrelson’s character wasn’t born a criminal. And it doesn’t even speak of what line he crossed, what subtleties added up to the tipping point that landed him in prison where the hope of repentance and time to think would bring healing…or at least, eventual release.

The scene in the car where he and his daughter sit in silence, the tension in his face from the familiarity of the deafening silence of however long his sentence was and wanting to breathe and sing and shout out the window for the world to know, “I AM FREE AND THIS IS MY BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER AND I LOVE HER AND IF YOU JUDGE ME BY THE CHOICES I MADE, YOU WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO SEE THIS SWEET REDEMPTION, BUT SHE’S SITTING NEXT TO ME. AND IT’S THAT PART OF ME THAT NEVER LIVED BEHIND BARS…I’M NO LONGER IMPRISONED.”

Over the course of many years, throughout different seasons, I have been imprisoned by the compounding effects of fear, insecurity, laziness, anxiety, discontent, comparison, what if?, longing, wandering, complete disregard, apathy, pathlessness…the list goes on for me, at least.

But, the sooner I recognize the subtleties, unpack them, bring them to light, remember that between God and I, there is no such thing as a secret, confess to loving people that I don’t have my act together, the less of a grip the temptation has on me.

By God’s original design, we were meant to live free…what subtleties have crept in to imprison you?

Empathy: A Noun?

The Road Less Travelled

Maybe that’s the problem? I like the word, “empathy.” I’m a peacemaker. How could I not? Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines it: “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions : the ability to share someone else’s feelings the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the […]

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Saturday Shenanigans

#nowords #nonap #nokidding #nofilter #lifewithatoddler #shipmypants #tryingnottolaughinfrontofhim #holyschnikeys #heisstillcutewithmarkeralloverhisface #happybirthdaytome

Raise your hand if you’ve enjoyed laughing along with Ryan’s shenanigans over the past 5 years. Like when he used to pee behind the couch every morning…Or when his “marking” behavior moved up to his bedroom carpet, instead (mister, the hardwood was easier to clean up!) Or when I’d find teeth marks in the stick […]

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Here Goes Nothing…


First of all, thank you guys for all the encouraging feedback, cheering me on to write. Don’t get me wrong. I love writing, but the practice of writing is something I’ve been out of for quite some time. This challenge came to me from some new friends in a blogging workshop I’m taking. There are […]

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31 Days of Stuff I Need to Get Off My Chest

I write in my head all the time but most of it never hits the keyboard, so I’ve decided to jump on a writing bandwagon and Write for 31 Days in the month of October in order to clear my head and heart and make room for more. A very wise soul wrote a blog […]

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A Series: Practicing His Presence

(I am working on listening to God, sitting with Him, closing my eyes and opening my heart to whatever I sense He is saying to me, and then hopefully putting into practice, if you will, the life He downloads into me. My series, “Practicing His Presence” comes from the title of a book called, “The Practice […]

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On Death and Living: A Series, Part 2

Two things about death that, I believe conjures, festers, fosters, and instigates fear, are the HOW and WHEN…sometimes to the extent of paralysis when it comes to LIVING. If we have a foundational understanding that every single person on this earth is born and dies, then the question of WHO is already established: Everyone…WE will all die… […]

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On Death and Living: A Series, Part 1

This will be the first of many posts on death and dying, fear, life, and living. I’m not even sure where to begin, so I’ve prayed a bit and will just start typing, I guess. I also will be welcoming some guest posts via interviews and podcasts on here, so stay tuned, and also, keep […]

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Mother’s Day, 1987

Mother’s Day 1987, my Mom chose where we went to church that Sunday. We had been going to a great Catholic church for years but moved away and just. could. not. do. the local Parrish as it was D. E. A. D. and I mean, dead. No pulse. Dry as a bone. Even the priest […]

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