This year has been absolutely amazing, and yet one of the loneliest years of my life.
When you leave home and come back, everything’s different. People change, friendships change, you change.
Traveling on the Quest for Beauty tour this spring, I often felt forgotten or alone, but there was purpose in it. I was traveling, speaking, doing what I had dreamed of doing all my life!
Coming back from tour to settle in Albany, NY was another matter entirely. After calling Rochester home for 8 years, it felt like I was missing out on life. (Dramatic, I know.)
So this August I moved back to Rochester, to escape the loneliness. Wonderful friends opened up their home to me, and I thought magically my emotions would fall back into place.
Over the next six weeks I got involved at church again and hung out with friends…
…yet the loneliness never left.
I couldn’t figure out why nothing felt right.
I decided to move back to Albany in October. (Turns out not having a life is way cheaper than having a life. Plus, I wasn’t feeling any better emotionally.)
When I came home, I had to come closer to the Lord. I couldn’t hide behind friendships or church, because I had nothing going on besides working 2045953 hours a day on my computer.
And (surprise, surprise) the closer I come to Him, the more I realize I’m not missing out on anything.
In fact, I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.
He allowed me to find a wonderful church out here in Albany. He also allowed one of my best friends to get a job out this way and actually live with my family for three months (we both are here until the end of January). But above it all, I’m learning to be content.
Years ago I read a quote by Elisabeth Elliot that’s stuck with me ever since:
“Loneliness is a required course for leadership.”
Apparently loneliness isn’t external; it’s internal.
It’s not something to escape; it’s something to surrender.
This year I’ve had to make peace with loneliness. I’ve had to stare it in the face and know that no matter what I feel, I’m never alone.
For some reason, I feel like this lesson is going to be tremendously important throughout the rest of my life.