Music off, television off, phone left on silent, I’ve been dabbling with the quiet because I need to hear from God, but the truth about the quiet is that it has opened me up wide, turned on my dulled senses, and faced me toward my rawest, loneliest places. It is a constant struggle for me to not reach for my phone, always at my side. With my mouth I say I want to walk with God, but with my actions I crave a culturally acceptable numbness that keeps me from pain.
Many of us know truth with our words and our songs and in our friendship conversations, but it feels rare to experience it in the seething corners of our hearts or in those hurt, magnified memories we keep close and shoved down. We start to feel the quiet working on us, and so we reach for the phone, scroll through instagram.
I’m finding, even as I pursue the presence of God, that the quieter it gets, the lonelier I get and the more I am left to deal with my own thoughts and what I really believe about God. I’m beginning to see how I’ve discounted that I have the mind of Christ, that I am actually supposed to be able to hear myself think.
I’ve started asking how lonely was Jesus in His flesh. Who knows what it’s like to be God with breakable bones? And then I imagine the desperate, internal communion Jesus kept with His Father, the kind of communion I want with Him, too.
Because of Jesus, I’m starting to embrace the lonely, not hiding from it any more, and rather asking Jesus into it with me. Only then do I find myself truly not alone.
Even in the intimacy metaphor we receive with marriage, even in our most unified moments, we can feel most alone. Even with your most favorite sisters, in huge crowds, and with a boat load of kids, we find ourselves deep in the crevices of loneliness. We find ourselves feeling exposed and unfixed because there is no people fix, no earthly father, no covering that will do other than the covering Jesus gives, the messianic fix.
I believe we blow the horn asking all to gather in community often because we think it will save us – save us from ourselves. Community can point us in the right direction, but it still won’t fix us.
We in our lonely can realize a love that hounds, the presence of invisible God, and only from the solitude found there can we reach out to community and practice the healing of togetherness in Him.
What if we allowed the quiet, faced the lonely, and sat in it a bit? Might that lonely place be exactly where the door is, the one on which we knock, the one Jesus promises to open?