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?”