"Once we clearly acknowledge the soul, we can learn to hear it's cries. - Dallas Willard, Renovation Of The Heart."

It takes courage to pursue our dreams. It takes time and patience to unearth buried treasure. But I believe with all my heart that we must do both.


Abiding Monday

Entering Loneliness

"I decided to make a life in the US, and I experienced pain and felt a deep absence of friendship, but then I started to slowly realized that maybe the experience of loneliness and the experience of separation might not be a negative thing. It might, I thought, bring me more in touch with other people's experience of loneliness. If I would not run away from it, but feel it through all the way, it might become fruitful. Then suddenly I had this idea that loneliness which is pain, when you do not run away from it but feel it through and stand up in it and look it right in the face, that there is something there that can be a source of hope, in the middle of the pain there is some hidden gift. I, more and more in my life, have discovered that the gifts of life are often hidden in the places that hurt the most. I am saying that you can stand the pain. I think one of the great challenges of life is to dare to stand in your pain, and to trust that there is something beyond that which is safe. What begins to happen is something like the experience that there is safety beyond the pain, that  if you enter into it, it's not so frightening as you thought it was, and that underneath your loneliness, there is an experience of being held safe...I know it for myself so much that if I experience loneliness or anguish, I distract myself. I go do something so that I don't feel it. But it is always a disappointment, and I am more lonely; I am more anguished.  Then I discovered that if I just stay with it, and live with it to the fullest. Not just accept it, but taste it, chew on it. I would nearly say to myself I am lonely, yes, and let me feel it. I've discovered that there's much more strength in me than I realized, and in a way, the strength is not coming from me, but it is coming indeed from someone who holds me, who loved me long before I came into life, from someone who will love me long after I died. It is not an intellectual thing. Jesus for me is the center of it. Jesus for me is the one who helps me discover that God has loved me before I even was born, and will still love me after I die. The love of God is a love that is there before and after any other human being has touched me. The mystery of knowing Jesus is the mystery of knowing God who embraces me much in a wider and deeper way, more than any human being can do. It sounds quite theoretical, but I have only discovered this gradually in life through much of my own pain, and through much of my own disappointment, and through much of my own running away to other places."
Henri Nouwen in Nouwen Then by Christopher de Vink. p. 134

It's so easy to run from the pain, the discomfort instead of staying with it.

I run from it, to other things, but it is temporary relief, and as Nouwen says, "I am more lonely, I am more anguished."

Do you run from it??


Denise said...

Such a powerful post, bless you.

Jennifer Richardson said...

Sometimes I run and hide.
Other times I shadowbox in a
futile fight for dominance.
Those times, dripping with grace,
I've stood in the pain,
I've met myself
and my God
and been healed deep inside.
So why is it so hard to stand
the next time......
Thanks for this, Mary.
Rich and nourishing.

Maggie said...

Thanks for posting this, Mary. It spoke right into my heart this morning.
-Maggie Anderson

Just Be Real said...

Mary a powerful post, thank you for sharing. Blessings.

Buffy said...

Such a great post and so true! Thanks for sharing.

Martha Lever said...

Hi Mary,
What a wonderful post. Yes, I run as fast as I can to avoid pain of any sort but I know that sometimes God wants me to go through it because through pain I know that with His help I can be changed.

Love the pictures of your little precious Sean. And yes, that was the cutest little dragon ever. Marc had a similar costume but he was a puppy. They are so cute and we are so blessed, aren't we, Mar!!!?

Bren said...

There is a power, the God kind, that comes into play when you stay present with the painful stuff, refusing to turn away, you find deeper shades of yourself and Him. This is a great post Mar, thanks for sharing it

CountryDreaming said...

Mother Teresa of Calcutta's words on loneliness:

"There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives--the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor you may have right in your own family. Find them. Love them."

Montgomery Family said...

What an awesome post, Mary! I am SO in this process of learning not to run. Thanks for ALL the ways you encourage me and motivate me to press closer to Jesus!

Bevie said...

Mar it's so true for most of us we do tend to run from all different kinds of pain. The loneliness I've felt over the years have actually brought me to a closer relationship with God for I finally realized God is all around me and in me to guide me thru all the pain...it's thru HIM I find I'm not alone. He says he gives me peace. John 14:27

Lisa said...

If I run, its for a short period of time to gather myself and then return and deal with it so that I can move onto the other things in my life.

Nancy said...

Hi Mar, I am pondering your words....Immediately, I would say yes I run from pain but upon reflecting I realize that God is teaching me to be still and listen for His voice and to let Him fill the all the voids including pain of any kind.....another step on the journey......

I love your pictures of little Sean...he's so precious....couldn't we just eat them with a spoon.......I can't wait to see mine this weekend.....

Love ya girlfriend.........

Vicki said...

Hey Mary. Can't wait to see you tomorrow. No wonder I've always loved Nouwen's writings...I've thought for way too long that I'm the only one who is lonely:-)

Love & hugs,

LeeAnn@Encouragement Is Contagious said...

I have figured this very thing out about myself over the past few years. That I've, most of my life, ran from discomfort and loneliness to another place that I think is going to be easier and more comfortable only to find that it was not the answer either. I know that God didn't put us here to stay comfortable, but rather to be where we must trust Him to get us through. In that process, He gets the glory by doing through us what we could never do ourselves. There is where my loneliness void gets filled with the love I was really seeking but didn't know it before. I've also heard that us "creative/artsy souls can struggle with loneliness even more because we tend to have very soft and passionate hearts. I do believe that is true.

Thank you Mary for sharing such wonderful Abiding Monday messages.

♥Lee Ann