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Alone In The Crowd – When Loneliness Becomes Our Closest Companion

“I think the most common cause of insomnia is simple; it’s loneliness.” – Heath Ledger

Have you ever felt completely alone amidst a crowd of thousands? It’s such a strange feeling – this dichotomy of relational proximity. Reach out your hand and you’ll touch someone. Desperately want someone to tell you that they see you, and suddenly it’s as if you’re the last human alive – the invisible person with no name.

For much of my life, I have felt invisible and alone. Living with an anxiety disorder that has freaked out many friends has been incredibly isolating. Their eyes staring at me like I was a psycho left me feeling hollow and alone…

My life has often been a grand success in failure. It’s lonely being lost in broken dreams and a hurting heart. It’s terribly lonely when everyone has a “solution” to the failure, but they don’t know what it is to hold the broken dreams in my heart…

As I sit here in a coffee shop, writing these words, several people sit around me, in conversation with a friend or busy doing work on their laptop. They’re close, but so far away. Despite all the lessons I’ve learned in my life, there’s one thing that I simply can’t solve completely: the feeling of being alone.

Maybe I really am a freak, but I have come to enjoy my time alone. It’s in the space of my own invisibility that the invisible God becomes more visible than ever before. Being alone has forced me to acknowledge the deepest parts of me that I desperately long to hide. It’s like being stripped bare, being truly seen by an audience of One. No one to hide behind. Just me and a God I nailed to a cross.

Maybe we’re always going to have these feelings of being alone. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing, after all. Maybe loneliness is meant to drive us to the arms of God. Maybe loneliness is a force that can drive us to love others with greater understanding and grace. We know what they feel like and we know that they want someone to understand. We get it. Maybe loneliness is just a temporary feeling that comes and goes when our hearts need a reminder of what’s important.

In a fallen world, loneliness is a repercussion ever resounding in the human heart. Something that I find beautiful about Jesus is how He can use what breaks us to bring us closer to His heart. We brought heartache into this world through our own rebellion, yet God uses that heartache to drive us back to His heart.

I am certain that we were not created to be alone. We were created to be known by God and by others. In this fallen world, our hearts are longing to return to that place of intimacy.

Heath poses a great question. What if loneliness is why our hearts are restless? What if loneliness is a call to return to the very God we’ve been running from all our lives?