One morning I heard a priest at Mass on T.V. saying that loneliness is a gift from God. My first reaction, he must be crazy! However, the more I thought about it I became convicted.
Living alone has never been something I ever had to deal with before, because I have always lived with other people, beginning with my family, then a roommate and then communities in religious life. It was never something that I thought I would ever have to experience in my life for a prolong period, especially after entering religious life.
However, I here I find myself alone since the beginning of this year. It got me thinking about aloneness and loneliness- what's the difference?
In Luke 5:16 it says, "Jesus often withdrew into lonely places and he prayed." Does this necessarily mean that he was alone or lonely? I believe yes to both. I also know that you can experience aloneness and loneliness in the midst of a crowd. The truth is that in my life right now in the midst of completing my M.Ed thesis, I do understand that God has given me the gift of aloneness and loneliness. At first I didn't see it as a gift, so I was having my one person pity party. It was only after hearing the priest, that I began to understand that this gift has drawn me closer in my relationship with God and is making me a spiritually stronger person for my present ministry.
Actually, thinking about my life right now, I definitely would be horrible company! How long this gift of aloneness and loneliness will last? I don't know, but I do know that God is preparing me for another adventure.
Do you embrace aloneness/loneliness as a gift or burden?
Lystra Long, OP
New Grant, Trinidad