Here is what is surprisingly characteristic about loneliness: that we are commonly engulfed constantly, even with the city of people who know us through and through, who often come with trumpets of encouragement and huge hearts, with listening ears and patient nods.
Here are the ways I have tried to cope with my loneliness: frantically busying my world, stuffing my calendar, always saying yes even when the answer should be no, filling up with places to be, filling up with worry to busy my mind, filling up space with music and sounds and voices. I have practiced the glorification of Busy, over and over and over, too busy to be lonely, driving myself so hard that when I get home all I can think to do is crash and burn into a tired ball of dust. I have tried to fill my loneliness with the men who have loved me and also the men who haven’t loved me, playing house, playing the part, making nice, making room in my bed.
Here is where my loneliness begins: in the fear that no one can really understand or handle my sometimes heaviness, my constant discontent and questions, my existential angst, my complicated thirst and wrestle to find God. What it really is: my own unrest with the woman I am, what I have done and not done, the unrest with where I’d like to go. When I sit down with myself I am begging for the phone to ring to break the awkwardness. I need to make peace with that woman. I need to be comfortable in the sometimes heaviness, the blazing vision, the questions.
Here is what I have come to see: that no one is going to bail me out of this, no matter how much they see and how much they care, even with someone squeezing me until all of the impossibilities that cripple me crackle off my fraying frame. There has to come a time when I can tuck myself into bed, tell myself about my day, and say, “goodnight, dear friend.”