It was many weeks of feeling downright hungry and thirsty in an emotional sense. I was on my last leg of loneliness. It was that day that God broke in and showed me the reality of my relationships.
Throughout the work week, there are people all over. I am a middle manager so there are hours of meetings and interactions; my office is a revolving door and I’m burnt out on people by the end of every day. But as a single woman, the weekday nights and weekends come and the lonely feelings hit me like a brick.
Every week. Same cycle.
The first reading on one particular Sunday was from Genesis. The topic: man should not be alone.
Man should not be isolated. Man was made for others. My parish priest on that particular Sunday preached about the importance of relationships, and I found myself feeling a disquiet -- a rare, upsetting feeling from a homily.
How difficult this truth is for me to accept, but my body and this particular sermon were nearly screaming to me: You are not made to be alone. This is not what God wants for you.
It was that night, with the grace of God, that I realized God wasn’t depriving me of love and relationships; I was depriving myself of love and relationships. Relationships that would guide me, help me and nurture me. People were calling out and opening their doors. I just wasn't letting them in.
Sure, I had friendships and relationships, but some were better than others, and I wasn’t always actively seeking to nourish them like I should be. Many of them lack depth, and it’s precisely the depth that I needed.
Why did I deprive myself of these? The truth is that I’ve been burned by many relationships, and a big one in particular that left me scathed in grief. Let’s face it. Love and deep relationships carry tremendous risk of more wounds.
But where has that gotten me? Hungry and thirsty for love, for human affection, for deep companionship, and for all of the good things that deep, loving human relationships give you. Human relationships are God’s gifts to us.
I doubt I'm alone in this. Our culture has become one of isolation, and so many of us are hurting and suffering, and carry those burdens alone. Many of us are depriving ourselves of the goodness in the relationships God gives us.
Take it from the young woman who deprived herself of relationships for too long: You’re worthy of companionship. You’re worthy of love. God wants to give you those gifts, and He probably is giving you those gifts, if you could open your eyes and see the people He's given you and take steps to build those relationships.
There’s a song by Danny Gokey that’s been playing ever since I lost a significant relationship, that says “Tell your heart to beat again. Close your eyes and breathe it in. Let the shadows fall away. Step into the light of grace.”
Perhaps now, I know the meaning of that song more than ever.