I accidentally kissed her on the cheek. I pulled away, shocked and worried.
When I was young, my mom would always say, “Goodnight, I love you” and then kiss me on the cheek and I’d kiss her back. When Abbie hugged me and said those exact same words, I kissed her cheek without even thinking. It was, well, a programmed response.
Then I panicked. What would she think I was doing?? But when I exclaimed and backed away, I realized she didn’t even think anything of it. That’s how close we were. We were BFFs. If I wanted to offer her a platonic kiss on the cheek, she was okay with it.
During the weeks we worked together at camp, Abbie and I bonded with a closeness that made me think we’d be the best of friends forever. But when we both left camp, we fell out of contact. Our closeness became a memory (albeit a well-loved memory) and I didn’t even know she was dating until I saw on Facebook that she was engaged.
I fear loneliness. I have some amazing friends right now, but they’re at college and I’m moving to Wisconsin. What if they fade away like Abbie and what if I can’t find new friends?? What if the rest of my life sucks because I spend every Friday night at home alone, watching a lame movie for lack of anything else to do?
Something Lysa TerKeurst wrote in her book “Uninvited” stuck with me in my reading. She admitted she doesn’t like loneliness (I mean, after all, she is human…), however stated that loneliness can come with gifts of its own. “Those lonely times also seem to be when Jesus lavishes His most intimate compassion on me. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus seemed to speak most intimately to people who were lonely?”
Lysa referenced the story of the woman at the well in John 4. That woman was avoiding people because of her shame and she was undoubtedly lonely. But that was when Jesus most connected with her; “He didn’t speak to her personally and intimately until the others left.”
No one wants to be lonely, but I believe I fear it more than I should. God can use the friends in our lives to bring us joy, and connection, and encouragement. But these friends are never the source of these feelings; God is. Friends alone will never satisfy.
I do plan to stay connected with my friends and to make it a point to be in contact. I want to be there to support them and I know from experience that they’ve been an astounding source of support to me. But, even so, there will be times in my life when I’m lonely. And loneliness is only made worse when I expect my friends to “make it all better.”
I want to be more intentional about turning to God first when I’m feeling lonely, or frustrated, or disappointed. I want to allow him to be intimate with me and sometimes these are the only times when I’m willing to really listen to him.
Maybe it won’t always in the way I hope or desire, but I know that God will take care of my needs. Even when I’m lonely.