A sinking feeling in my lower gut.
A dull feeling, almost that of feeling tired, sluggish, slow.
A lack of appetite.
A lack of feeling at ease.
A desire for distraction.
Where is my phone? What’s on Facebook? Instagram?
Should I text someone? Start up a conversation? Will they sense my desperation?
What else can I look at, read, or do to take my mind off of things?
I know! I can work! I can bury myself in work. It makes me feel productive…
I’ll check email. All five accounts.
I’ll look at old pictures and re-read old texts.
Ugh, I feel worse.
Should I take a nap?
No matter where I ran, Lonely was right behind me. I couldn’t escape it.
The more I ran from it, it just got faster and bigger than me.
The more I hid from it, the louder it got.
The worse I felt.
So I decided to stop running from Lonely, look at it right in the eye and say…
I was surprised at what I found:
Lonely was… me.
Not all of me. Just a part of me.
And she was beautiful.
She wasn’t the monster I had envisioned.
She wasn’t angry. She wasn’t crying. She wasn’t desperate and ugly.
She wasn’t weak and pathetic.
And when I looked at her right in the eye, she didn’t even make me feel any of those things I was feeling when I was running from her.
Lonely didn’t cause those feelings I was feeling.
It was running from her that caused them.
I asked her, “why were you chasing me? I was scared!”
She said, “why did you abandon me?”
Loneliness is an important part of us, and it is NOT the opposite of Joy. It’s a PART of Joy. You see, without Lonely we wouldn’t know Joy. Just like without Sad, we wouldn’t know Happy.
Joy expresses herself when we are with those that we cherish; Lonely expresses herself when we lose someone. It’s a beautiful part of us that tells us so much about ourselves. We aren’t “just Joy”, we are ALL of it on that spectrum.
Lonely, in its hidden beauty, reminds us that we are human, that we are capable of and desire love, and that we care. It reminds us to keep our hearts soft, flexible, and open. It reminds us to say “sorry” when we make a mistake, and to forgive when we’ve been hurt. And that requires a tremendous amount of courage.
But the difference between Lonely and Joy is that Joy embraces us. Lonely requires that we embrace it.
There’s a fundamental rule in all relationships: that we can’t just take, take, take. We gotta give a little too. If all we do is sit and expect Joy to embrace us, Joy will leave us. So be brave and embrace Lonely. Don’t run. Just like you, all she wants is a hug and to be acknowledged.