Most of the time, I enjoy my single woman status. I have the freedom to eat when I want and what I want. I don’t need to check in with anyone about what I’m doing and my finances are my own responsibility. The only One I check in with is my heavenly Father. God and I get along just fine.
But once in a while, the loneliness of my singleness creeps in like a black cloud that hovers over a previously sunny day.
Usually, loneliness hits when I see an older couple walking hand in hand through Target or Wal-Mart. They’re cartless, obviously walking just for the exercise yet enjoying the touch of each other and probably the memories of years together. I envy them and feel suddenly bereft of my own walking and talking partner.
Another time when loneliness hits is on Sunday mornings at church. As a divorced woman, I join in that cadre of women who feel out of place in the midst of all the seemingly happy families surrounding us. I only have to look a few seats ahead to see another happy family, the father with his arm around the mother, the children lined up in various heights of growth spurts.
When those loneliness germs infect me, I drive home and spend time in praise. I bang a few Beethoven sonatas on the piano or stand in front of the stereo, dancing to a praise song. Music helps to scare the lonely jeebies away.
Yet it is in the darkness of night when loneliness slams into me. When I have no one to reach out to except my cat.
Admittedly, she is a warm presence, circling around my arm and then cuddling inside my elbow, placing her front paw on my wrist and vibrating the bed with her purr.
That lasts until one of us needs to move. Then she is up and gone to another part of the house where she cradles herself to sleep.
It is then, that I reach out for the divine touch and ask God to be my husband and maker, to come and be present in my room, to blow away the loneliness with the same mighty breath that created life in the first place.
Sometimes, I feel his arms around me. Other times, it is a warmth inside, the Holy Spirit settling in with a dose of divine love. Encouragement in the form of a long ago memorized verse permeates my subconscious state, and I know I am being cared for. Or the verses of a beloved hymn float in the air. I sing to myself. The cat yowls in reply.
But one night, after several weeks of book marketing events, I settled down to sleep and felt that longing for another person. My heart ached with the absence of companionship. I did not want to fall into despair or the pit of self-pity.
So I prayed out loud through my list of verses and thanked God for meeting all my needs before I even spoke them. Then before I could utter my final “Selah and Amen,” I asked him, “Dear Father, do you ever get lonely?”
He surprised me with his answer, for in the stillness came the divine whisper, “I love you.”
I heard his sweet reminder that my busyness of the previous weeks had left a vacuum in our relationship. Although I received accolades as a speaker in various places and gave credit to his eternal creativity for birthing the words in me, yet in the hither and thither of events – I had spent little personal time with God, just being still with him.
In the Song of Solomon, he reminds me that I belong to him and that his desire is for me (Song of Solomon 7:10).
The prophet Zephaniah underscores that God takes great delight in me, even to the point of quieting my longings with his love and rejoicing over me with singing (Zephaniah 3:17). In Colossians 1:16, Paul writes, “For by him (Jesus) all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” Jesus considers us his friends (John 15:14-15) and he wants us to experience life to the fullest (John 10:10) regardless of our circumstances.
How incredible that this utterly awesome and mysterious One waits for us to stop long enough to say, “I love you, too.”