It’s been an interesting day. Though I was extremely busy at work, my hours were “interrupted” with God moments.
It began with an early lunch at the home of a friend. I walked in, not recognizing any of the other women invitees, but soon found my introverted self chatting and making the proverbial small talk, I so despise. Yet, our hostess never does anything for the sake of just being social, but to help women speak into the lives of one another for encouragement and spiritual growth. After her own words of encouragement and love, we made our way through the buffet line. I sat at a beautifully decorated card table on the far side of the room, knowing I had to leave quickly to get back to work. Three other ladies joined me. One had recently moved to our city, so we were able to welcome her and encourage her in a variety of ways. The other two were widows, like me, so the topic naturally drew to grief and how we dealt and are dealing with the new normal as women.
After my morning trip to the oasis, it was back to the grindstone; but not long after I arrived, I had a short visit from a friend who leads an organization that trains Christians in how to share the love of Christ with Muslims. In those brief minutes, I could sense God at work and wished we’d had more than just a few minutes.
No time to think about it though, as I again returned to work on a busy Friday afternoon. When I finally did leave for the day, I met my brother for dinner. We needed each other and talked and talked. As a recent widower, he too, knows the struggles that come with grief. I realized when he spoke of loneliness, that we handle it differently.
“I’m an introvert,” I told him. “I don’t need to be with people, but work out my loneliness by writing and staying busy with work and church.” He nodded, seeing my point.
“You’re an extrovert,” I continued, “you need to be with people, to talk with them.”
Then I realized that where we both feel it deepest is when we have something we want to share with our spouse. We think of picking up the phone, turning over in the bed, calling to them through the house — they’re not there. We’ve both lost our best friend. Introverted or extroverted, loneliness hits.
“That’s it, that’s it,” he said. “I was so excited the other day when someone came to the Lord. I wanted to tell her. In the end I called my pastor.” I told him I did the same thing last week, by calling a missionary friend in Mississippi. You have to search far and wide to find a person who understands you like they did, who doesn’t judge or complain that you’re bothering them for calling.
My brother shared a quote he heard that said, “Grief is love with nowhere to go.” That hit the mark. That’s what happens when you want to share something, and you realize they’re gone all over again. Grief hits. Grief hurts.
As I came home and reflected on my day, I couldn’t help but know that within these past few days grief anniversaries are marked for three dear friends. It’s a hard week of remembrance, as I reflect on hearing the news of their losses all within a 48-hour period. Whether spouse, parent, child or friend, we feel the loss and feel the loneliness in different ways and times.
I wondered why my day was so full of people. God knew. Even an introvert needs a friend when loneliness strikes.
Are you feeling lonely? Seek out a friend and let God use them to comfort you.
Grace and Peace