This guest post comes from Robert Basilious - a member of St Mark Coptic Orthodox church in London, England who has guest posted on my blog before. Robert works as a software engineer by profession, but his true passion is serving church communities across the UK with their software needs. You can check out his work on his website, Serving Jesus. And if you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
Roses are red, I have a phone, nobody texts me, forever alone.
Loneliness is familiar to us all. The loneliness of those estranged from loved ones, those who work or study in isolation, or those who are socially outcast. The loneliness of a man sitting across the dinner table from his wife unable to convey his feelings, the loneliness of a family sitting in front of the television incapable of sharing their dreams, or the loneliness of a commuter on the subway surrounded by the silence of other commuters staring at each other’s shoes.
Loneliness is a universal human experience.
Healing from loneliness can only be found in experiencing the Lord of all Creation. Our tender yearning for intimacy, a feature of our humanity, can only be genuinely satisfied in unity with God. We were created to find completion in our relationship with God, but we have yet to experience the goodness that He desires to share of Himself.
“As it is impossible to verbally describe the sweetness of honey to one who has never tasted honey, so the goodness of God cannot be clearly communicated by way of teaching if we ourselves are not able to penetrate into the goodness of the Lord by our own experience.” (St. Basil the Great, Conversations on the Psalms)
We are foolish to believe we are so undeserving of attention that even God the Father does not love us and has forsaken us. We cut ourselves off from God’s incomprehensible love; instead, we need to realize the presence of God. A continued failure to experience the power of His love in unity with Him will result in an everlasting loss.
“… Alienation from God is deprivation of all good things ... but the good things of God are eternal and without end, so that the loss of them is eternal and without end.” (St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies)
Our Lord, God, Savior and Friend calls us to Him and then waits patiently for us. When we focus our lives on seeking our Lord Jesus Christ, the shackles of loneliness are broken.
“The Lord loves all people, but He loves those who seek Him even more.” (St. Silouan the Athonite, Writings)
God is glorified in weakness. The desolation of loneliness ripens into privilege as we become aware that in darkness only the Son of God can bestow hope in our hearts. Without solely depending on Christ, there will be no foundation to our relationships.
“You must love every man with your whole soul, but put your hope in the one God ….” (St. Maximus the Confessor, Chapters on Love)
When we are not sustained by a divine relationship with God we seek to be satisfied in damaging ways. We vainly try to reach wholeness by ourselves. We use unedifying means to try to obtain a substitute for the intimacy with the Son of God that brings meaning to our lives. This causes us to relate to ourselves and to the world in vain, remaining alone in a world drowning in loneliness.
Our relationships with others become corrupted when we fail to establish ourselves in a relationship with the one true Living God. Relationships cultivated separately from His love remain superficial.
We are not able to give ourselves freely to others, but we remain filled with worries and hesitations, giving ourselves partially and conditionally.
We begin to see others as objects for our satisfaction rather than as creations of God’s mysterious love, who reflect His light. We are not able to receive others freely, but we harness a desire for possession and become demanding of them. All become a product for exploitation as we attempt to quench our thirst for fulfilment.
“When we love Christ God, we also love all that is divine, immortal and Christ-like in people. … Any other love is pseudo-love, which is easily changed into lovelessness and hatredness toward people.” (St. Iustin Popović, Explanation of 1 John)
When the Holy Spirit is the basis of our self-worth, we no longer need people in that same way. We are able to live in His Holiness, participating with Him in being:
“… broken and distributed; broken but not divided. … forever eaten yet is never consumed, but He sanctifies those who partake of Him.” (St. John Chrysostom, Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom - Communion Hymn)
We are created by God to be in a gratifying communion with Him and with others. It is an aspect of our humanity that we desire to share ourselves with others and desire them to share themselves with us, but a life in communion with others must be rooted in a life transforming experience with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In discovering Him, our bonds with others are also transformed.
“The chief end of our lives is to live in communion with God. … Through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, we enter into communion with the Father and thus attain our purpose.” (St. Theophan the Recluse, Letters to various people)