it was a cold and blustery day today and the only thing that i felt like doing was curling up with a blanket in my sun drenched living room. unfortunately however, i am house-sitting in a huge, empty mansion that can feel about as welcoming as a prison cell. it is the sort of place where you are alone with your loneliness. i couldn't go to that cement block so instead i reverted to the comfort of my own home for the afternoon. but even there i still felt empty. my roommate is out of town, i was not in the mood to read or write, and i didn't want to waste the day watching the useless black box otherwise known as a television.
often times i pride myself on living a life of contented singleness. i like the fact that i am comfortable being alone and that it is actually something i deeply enjoy. there are few things that are as rewarding as a solo drive along the coast, spreading out a blanket in a park and reading under the afternoon sun, or grabbing my nikon to venture out on a photography project. this afternoon however delivered the emotional side-effects of singleness; loneliness.
after sitting uncomfortably with thoughts of my family back home, wondering what my friends are up to, wishing i would hear back from bethel university, and pathetically attempting to ignore the musings regarding a certain someone; i decided to medicate my heavy heart. how? well, by laying prostrate at the foot of the cross of course...ok, that is a huge lie. rather than cling to the voice that calls me beloved i drove my car to target for some of what my dear friend michelle calls "retail therapy". to no surprise the impulsive trip didn't solve the hole in my heart. target offered nothing but distracted time and empty hands.
i left to go meet with michelle for an evening cup of coffee and some conversation. this turned out to be the very thing that i so desperately needed. as we sipped our java we conversed about the blessings of being a cross country coach, the challenges of marriage (she's married) as well as singleness (that's me), our relationships with christ, and everything in between. the deeper we traveled into dialogue the wider we opened our souls, and there i realized something sweetly profound. i cannot survive alone. it is easy for me to remain in my familiar solitude, but when i do so i fail to receive the life the comes from relationships. so too i cannot be a light and source of encouragement to others. this simple two hour coffee and conversation was a reciprocated need and had i remained in my hole, i would have missed the opportunity to give love to my friend, and to receive the love she extended in return.