“I forgive you. For growing
a capacity for love that is great
but matched only, perhaps,
by your loneliness…”
(Phase One by Dilruba Ahmed)
I have always been lonely. Always. When I was a little girl, burying myself in books I was lonely. When I was a teenager, burying myself in journals full of angst and drama, I was lonely. I was lonely when I got married—especially when I got married. I am lonely now that I am divorced.
I find myself always longing for the day when the loneliness will somehow be satisfied. Like one day, somehow, surrounded by the right mix of people whose love for me matches my love for them I could breathe easier, I could rest, I could sleep without dreaming.
I have a big capacity for love. That’s not a flex. It just is. I love deeply and widely, but in a way that is not always returned. That isn’t at all to denigrate my relationships. I am grateful for each relationship as sent from God to be what it is. Discontentment does not drive my loneliness. Everything is just as it should be. I have zero expectations from people to solve my lonely heart’s complicated relationship with love. I know that no one can fill this void—no man, no bestie, no child, no amount of noble work or projects completed.
It’s almost as if the depth of loneliness is what gives one the ability to love. But love doesn’t satisfy loneliness. It isn’t meant to.
Yet, still I run from loneliness. There are only brief moments of grace when I feel like I can stand it, carry it, immerse myself in it, and love well through the loneliness. Most of the time though it feels too heavy for the human heart to manage. I told my priest this. I told him that I felt it wasn’t fair (even while I was saying it I knew it was ridiculous. Fairness has always been a fantasy.) and that I was rather mad at God that crushing loneliness should be my lot in life. I asked him, “Jesus said his yoke was easy and his burden was light, but this doesn’t feel like either.” And he replied, “He never said it would not be a burden.” And he told me that God knew the size of the yoke my shoulders could bear.
Recently a different priest stopped midsentence as we disgussed parish suppers and said, “Are you OK?”
“Are you happy in your life?”
You should warn a girl before you ask that complicated question in public. I just stammered something incoherent like, “Well, um….I try.” as I held back the tears that flooded my eyes.
I need time. Time to make friends with loneliness. Time to sit in it and know it and to let it know me, the way lovers know each other’s bodies. Time to synchronize my breath with it and find my heart beating in its time. Will my capacity to love keep growing with my capacity to embrace loneliness? Will the two ever converge?
Then maybe I can love God better, as he deserves to be loved. Maybe then I can console His Sacred Heart and ease his agony. Maybe I can make myself a better home for his love. Maybe his love is the source and the satisfaction of my loneliness. Maybe his loneliness is the source and satisfaction of my love.
“Just give me time and I’ll love the things as no one ever did,
until they all have become wide and worthy of you.
I only need seven days, I guess,
which no one has claimed or covered before,
seven pages of loneliness.”