“Are you lonely?” these are the words that filter down and find their way to me as I am sitting on a bench meditating. I’m not sure the words are meant for me so I release them and let them go. Yet again I hear “Are you lonely?” The words are repeated over and over and each time I let them go. They are a child’s words. I suspect that they are intended for me and yet I am still unsure until I hear “Hey, lady are you lonely?” Then I know for certain. I find it rather curious for a child to ask such a question. Maybe hey what are you doing there on that bench but not are you lonely.
I ponder the question and then reply back “No, I’m not lonely. Are you?” There is a pause and then a resounding “Never!” I laugh and reply back, “That’s good.” For a while there is nothing and I think the exchange is done until I hear the question again “Are you lonely?” I am deciding whether I should answer again when I hear another voice say “She already answered you.” and then all questioning stops from the hidden children.
However, the questioning does not stop inside my own head. Am I lonely? Perhaps I am. In fact I think I may have lied to this hidden child voice. In their childlike innocence was there something that they could sense or did they just draw that conclusion because they believe every person sitting on a bench much be lonely? And does it really matter? Maybe the only thing that matters is that it gets me to thinking about whether I am lonely or not.
I actually love spending time by myself so the question in a way seems somewhat absurd. The thing is I am not myself and I feel like something is missing and so in this I suppose I do feel lonely. There is a light that I used to have that filled me with happiness, contentment, peace and even direction. I have lost that. Even that is not true. I know really that it isn’t lost, it’s just temporarily dimmed, waiting for me to reclaim it.
Perhaps what I feel more than anything else is defeated, exhausted, and selfish. I have grown weary of carrying everyone’s load. So I put them down not anticipating the revolt that would occur because of it. A friend of mine sent me this quote, when someone says “You’ve changed” it simply means you’ve stopped living your life their way. And that is exactly what I have encountered. Apparently as long as I was carrying the load and playing by the established rules than everyone was perfectly happy and I should have been too. But I wasn’t so I said enough was enough. I didn’t know how hard it was going to be for me to hold that when I said it. If I had, maybe I wouldn’t have said them. I’m not sure what I was expecting. Maybe I thought I would be seen as worthy enough to finally be given what I needed or wanted. To finally be cherished and treated in the same way as Jesus did the church by a Godly man. What I have finally realized is that it has nothing to do with my worth but everything to do with the worth of people who surround me.
Even in knowing this I feel that I have failed. Everyone is still looking at me to fix it, to somehow make it better, to go back into the box that I came out of. I didn’t realize how invested people were in keeping me in the box. I didn’t know that finding one’s voice would be seen as threatening as it has been. I guess I thought if one is truly loved than those people who love me and accept me would respect my voice and actually support and applaud me. Instead my voice has been met with fear and of upsetting the apple cart. Then I find myself asking is it worth it? What price must I pay to continue claiming my voice? Jesus sacrificed. Do I take that lesson from Jesus and claim it as my own? I won’t have my voice but maybe that isn’t important. Maybe everyone else’s comfort and happiness is all that matters.
And even as I say this I know it is not true. I am not doing anyone any favors by locking my voice away. It just allows them to stay in the unhealthy state that was created. There is no growth, no transformation, no healthy evaluation of self. This is not what God wants. God wants everyone to see and reach their true potential. He wants all of His children to have happiness and to be honored.
The temptation is to stay and not rock the boat. Afterall, it’s what is known. I know exactly what I get. No unknowns. Which brings me to a bible verse that I have been brought to numerous times. Luke 12:22-23. Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. I always got the don’t worry about your life, clothing and eating part but there was one thing that struck me differently that I had never recognized before. Life is more than food and the body is more than clothing. This is what made an impact on me. For what good is all the food or clothing in the world if you are lacking in other things that give you life. Being true to oneself is life, without this one cannot be any poorer. If one is true to oneself this is the greatest gift and all other treasures will follow.
So am I lonely? I don’t think so. I become a little lost at times and then need to find myself again. As I find my way and refuse to give up my voice I pray, meditate, and spend time in nature where God talks to me and strengthens and renews me. I am not responsible for everyone. I am only responsible for myself and in remembering this I am being true to myself and I find my light. If I am being true to myself then I can let others go and they can then figure out how to be true to themselves. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. It is not in my hands. I am letting go.