Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses
the glory of being alone.
You may remember about a week or so ago I posted a curious image of a pile of bluebird
feathers beneath one of my bluebird boxes.
I surmised from the mass of scattered feathers that something bad and somewhat
tragic had taken place during the veil of darkness.
I also knew we had marauding raccoons who often came to visit the yard at night,
scavenging the stale bread I often throw out back for the birds.
And I knew that raccoons were notorious for stealing bird eggs.
A quick internet search also revealed that they are not choosy when it comes to their
need for a meal.
They are equally notorious for snatching whole birds.
I was rather crestfallen when I thought that the poor bluebird family this year was not
to be thanks to my four-legged black masked visitors…
That was until I walked past the same box where previously a pile of feather lay…
and I suddenly felt that odd feeling when you realize you’re not exactly alone.
I turned toward the bird box and saw what I thought to be an eyeball staring at me.
Watching me ever so closely.
Over the course of a few minutes, the eyeball became two eyeballs…
And then an entire head…
And so it appears that Mrs. Bluebird is alive and well, yet I fear she just might
be a widow.
And as I stood staring at this lone little head peeking out of a birdbox, the notion of this
lone bird now having to sit on a nest of eggs, hatch said eggs and in turn work
like mad to feed the now filled nest of hungry mouths…filled me with a bit of melancholy.
And so I found myself overcome by the odd thought of loneliness and of being alone.
And whereas I know that birds don’t necessarily look at the circumstance of life as I do…
it’s just the fact that I have the knowledge of knowing how hard things will be for
her raising a brood without the help of a mate sharing in the endless search for food
for wanting little mouths.
It reminded me of my own bit of emptiness when it’s time for my little
granddaughter to go home.
Such as she did Sunday.
I find myself with such a lonely ache in my soul.
Not that bird’s heart’s ache or that they have a soul for that matter…
Yet despite these thoughts of a bird’s loneliness and of my own feelings and sense
of a lonely ache, I recalled reading recently an interesting article about
the skyrocketing epidemic in this country centering around loneliness.
The title of the article was
“God may have put you in a lonely place for an incredible reason”
by Pastor Rick McDaniel
Now I know that lots of folks will scoff at the linked thoughts of loneliness
to what we believe
to be a loving, all knowing, all powerful God…
I also know that there will those who will scoff at any sort idea of a God…
Plus that there will be those who will scoff at the notion of our being alone
as an impetus for our, in turn, reaching up and outward from ourselves…
oblivious and unaware of what gifts may actually await us just beyond our
aching empty hearts…
I know how hard it can be when one is in the midst of feeling so utterly
void and alone to imagine that God’s hand could or would be ever so close…
However, I have always been comforted by the words of Padre Pio, that mysterious Capuchin monk
who taught that it is in the depths of our greatest suffering in which God is actually the
closest to us.
There are many who will question such a statement…
but in the hindsight of my own life, I have seen the truth behind his words.
Yet for many, it is the depths of loneliness when there is a real feeling of anger and
resentment toward the unseen God who in our suffering, believe is choosing not to
“rescue” us from our plight of loneliness thus our belief that that is cause for
our feelings of anger.
Yet as Pastor McDaniel points out,
“Sometimes God causes us to seek him by driving us to him through the loneliness we experience.
We can get angry, depressed or we can see it as a gift.
Loneliness is a great benefit if we have drawn closer to Christ.”
While at the same time, I find this whole notion of skyrocketing loneliness an odd result
from the advent of social media where anyone can be connected to everyone with just
the click of a button…
And while our obsession with technological engagement has created a generation of
folks who more often than not feel utterly isolated,
albeit for the screen of an electronic device,
it is that very sense of isolation that can either lead us up and out of ourselves
to something much greater and so much more…or cause us to sink into despair…
I think it’s a matter of perspective…