…. having the sense that no one else understands you, or at least your immediate situation.
“Get wisdom! Get understanding!
….. Love her, and she will keep you.
Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:5…6, 7)
I understand wisdom: a knowing of what significance a situation may have, or a knowing of how to handle a particular situation so that relationship and peace are retained. How is understanding different?
…. a recognition of the human condition, and the humanity of any particular circumstance. In this case, I am learning and sharing about loneliness.
Where companionship is the sharing of common memories and/or goals or perspectives, loneliness is the absence of that sharing.
Jesus had close friends around him: the 12 specific people chosen from a sea of people who would call themselves followers or disciples of Jesus and his teaching. Amongst those twelve were three with whom he seemed to share a deeper intimacy: Peter, James and John were with him at the transfiguration, and were called out to be nearer at Gethsemane. So, Jesus had the physical presence of friendship.
Companionship goes beyond physical company
Having companionship curbs being alone, but does it prevent loneliness in our souls? I don’t think so.
Companionship, in a deeper sense, is that sense of a shared journey in life — or in a season of life. Perhaps this is why it is so pleasant to live and grow in one community over a long period of time, and this is why physical separation can be so challenging for us as human beings.
Jesus had the companionship of his heavenly father and proximity of his earthly mother; so perhaps he did not feel loneliness as we do from time to time. Or perhaps he felt deeply lonely whenever he explained things to his twelve and they did not understand.
And likely, at the most profound level, an incredible depth of loneliness is what he was experiencing on the cross when he exclaimed, “”Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?: that is, “My GOD, my GOD, why have you forsaken me?”” (Matthew 27:46)
On an intellectual level, I believe Jesus had to have experienced loneliness as part of his walk, so that he understood our human experience entirely.
We experience loneliness when we feel isolated, not understood, or unable to share with at least one other human being what we are living in our journey of life. When someone else has had the same revelation born from a similar experience, we feel that sense of community we as human beings need.
Counselling and Psychology
The beauty of pastoral counselling and the study of human psychology is that it offers engagement with another person, giving us the sense of being heard or understood, helping us immensely against loneliness. But that human understanding or intellectual understanding is finite.
GOD’s counsel goes much deeper, goes to our very core.
This very morning, I awoke having had two dreams — short images in my mind —which, upon reflection, have given me an inner, personal, deep understanding of two questions I carried to sleep with me last night. Reflection on each image has helped me to remember the questions and understand GOD’s answers to me.
I asked GOD to help me to understand two issues, one personal, one relational. The images he has given me have provided me with total and complete understanding. And with understanding, I know how to proceed.
Ask and you shall receive
My friendly reader, ask for wisdom and for understanding. Wait upon the LORD, and He will provide.
Was Jesus lonely?
On a human level, Jesus must have been lonely from time to time. But he did not remain in that place, but would have had the wisdom and understanding to move beyond it. Even by declaring his being forsaken, others heard! And so in sharing, the inner pain would have been reduced. Whilst being GOD, walking as a man, His aloneness must have been profound; and yet, whilst being a man, as son of GOD, his earthy experience must have been truly unique and enthralling.
Each of us has our years on this earth. There will be times when we feel no one understands or cares. And yet, we have a GOD who totally understands because He has experienced what we have experienced. And that, is what true companionship is… the sharing of understanding and experience.
Our earthly journey will be full of “hello” and “goodbye” which sounds tragic — or at least glib. But in reality, our journey is our own. No one has precisely the same life experience, perspective or challenge. If we are wise, we will share our life with others. That will bring pain sometimes, because sometimes those with whom we share drift apart from us, or move, or pass away. But it will offer tremendous joy in the meantime, and enable us to learn and grow as well.
The human condition
…. is part joy, part sadness, and a journey and passage of time between the two. An old adage says, “It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” (Tennyson) This is wisdom, this is true, and when we know life will offer some highs and some lows, we can engage in life knowing that it is better to live life than to fear it.
Shalom and GOD Bless.