“Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.” Lk. 6:38
Let's face it. Everyone, regardless of how introverted or extroverted, has those days where we just feel lonely. There might not be any real reason to explain it. We know we have an extensive network of friends and family who love us, but we just come across those days where everything just seems off, things seem more difficult than they have ever been before and the stress of daily life causes us to want to just stay home, nestled under a comfy blanket.
Bleak, I know. But if you're honest with yourself, you've experienced some amount of loneliness. Maybe it strikes late on a Friday night when you're wondering why you didn't make plans with anyone. Maybe it comes when you're at a crowded bar and you realize you don't authentically "know" anyone around you. Whatever the case, loneliness is part of the human condition.
I hate admitting this, but I can feel this way quite often. I like to think I'm a pretty social person with an array of varied relationships, but some days I just feel by myself, alone. I know it's not true, but I would be lying if I didn't say I have felt that emotion. When I examine the source of this loneliness, I realize that it really just stems from a deeper feeling of being unloved. Maybe a co-worker made me feel excluded. Maybe I simply just miss the warmth of hugs from my mom. Maybe someone changes plans on me at the last second. Whatever it is, those days of loneliness shed light on a deeper desire that I fear isn't being met....a desire to be known and unconditionally loved by another. Sure, we say "God loves us" but sometimes I just need to experience that in a human way in order to truly know His love.
I find hope and a great challenge in today's scripture...give good gifts and an abundance will be poured out. Maybe this feeling of loneliness can be overcome by how much I give to my personal relationships? How much do I really about my coworkers? Could I spend more quality time with my roommate? Do I call my mom enough to just check in and see how she's doing? If I'm truly honest, I know I can do more. I find excuses to avoid moving past a superficial relationship with others: “I'm too busy;” “I don't know if I trust them;” “it's just going to be awkward to tell her that.” I'm reminded today that if I don't share those parts of myself with others, if I don't love those around me in a real, authentic way, then of course I'm not going to receive this great overabundance of genuine Love to fill the void of loneliness. Maybe it starts with me, challenging myself to forget the excuses and give the gift of myself sincerely to the community that I have been gifted.
This Lent, I find my spirit growing in a deeper sense of self awareness for the areas of my life in which I can give of myself more in order to be fully receptive to God’s overabundant, overflowing, overwhelming gift of love for me. I pray that you too may be growing in awareness for the gift that you are and the gifts that you can give for “Man cannot fully find himself, except through a sincere gift of himself.”---Gaudium et Spes
Reflected by Regina Galassi