I was speaking to a friend recently about loneliness and how despite our ability to have immediate access to each other through social media, texts, and emails we are lonelier than we were a decade ago.
Our discussion seemed timely, as I have found myself feeling lonely the past few weeks and unable to bring myself out of my feelings. I remind myself that there are plenty of people in my life, both family and friends, that I can go to with problems or needs; therefore, I have no need to feel lonely. But there is a level of uncomfortableness with both feeling lonely and acknowledging one’s loneliness that we too often try to dismiss.
As adults we have learned to always portray ourselves as happy, social people signaling to others that we have no problems. No struggles. And in turn, neither should they. It leads us to think about lonely people as people who lack social skills but that may not necessarily be true.
Over the past five years, there has been a new catchphrase “find your tribe” that has emerged and when I feel especially lonely this is the very thing, I feel I lack —my tribe. A community of like-minded people who support each other.
I question whether there are like-minded people who I can connect with that will not judge me on my views on Christianity, parenting, or the lack of interest in what is going on in Hollywood because I have been the person who has been judged for having different opinions than my given tribes and now as a thirty-two year old woman I don’t feel the need to debate my views.
I may never find my tribe but as I sat alone in my living room last night, I allowed myself to fully feel alone and in that quiet and dark space, I felt peace. A peace that can only be explained as God gently reminding me of the countless people around the world who at that very moment felt the same lonely feeling I felt and despite our distance or differences we are united by the same Spirit.
It brought tears to my eyes and a desire to continue building meaningful connections with those individuals currently in my life and those who I have yet to meet. My tribe may not look like others, but it will hopefully be full of meaningful relationships where we support and love each other despite our differences.