I grip the counter hard. It’s a white knuckle hold of slippery, grey-speckled imitation granite. The cars whizz by down the hill. This is the neighborhood in Budapest where my family and I have lived for a year and a half. But it is not, yet, home. And I do not know if I can survive until it is home.
Thoughts have begun to enter my mind. It is a journey of seven years, too many moves, and three kids that have brought us here. The calling has remained clear, even after weathering a path of so much hard.
Until now. I have gone so far adrift, I cannot find my place anywhere in this world. And while my heart still beats, hope’s fire wanes. I am in a fierce battle. I know I must learn anew to fight. For even in the deepest darkness, there is a light sewn into my heart of hearts and it will not be overcome.
As I write this now, a little more than a year separates me from the dark place mentioned above. What I share here, I offer humbly. Because the way out is a daily, moment to moment choice, and one I continue to struggle to make. But the hope is real and the God of it bigger and stronger than anything.
To find the way we must overcome two lying thieves: loneliness and isolation.
The first thief, loneliness, when standing face-to-face with truth, is transformed into deeper communion with God. Every lie that says we are alone is rooted in alienation from God that happened long ago with a tragic choice that shattered a perfect world. Loneliness has been a part of every life since, but God again and again speaks something greater.
He speaks it in Deuteronomy 31 and Jeremiah 31 and Psalm 23. Ultimately, He speaks it through the perfect love displayed in His Son. Our trust in this love binds us forever to God in a way that enfolds us in His heartbeat as it becomes ours.
The beauty, my friends, of every bit of loneliness, especially the most intense, is that it drives us to the Source of our hope. Our hope is anchored in God and His promises. As we believe this is our truest reality, we will overcome.
The second thief, isolation, when surrounded by God’s love, becomes the doorway to true community. Isolation is rooted in the same tragedy of long ago. Ever since, every person experiences alienation from others. Yet as we trust the deeper love of God, we find the strength to step into community. And the great gift of living in these days is that true community, home, is just a click away. It’s the click that brought you here today.
A year ago I knew God had given me friends – through blogging and Facebook – who would remain even when I was an ocean away. But I let the lies in and I forgot. I started to think I could mess up face-to-face relationships with too many online ones. I began to believe I would be unfaithful to my cross-cultural calling if I formed friendships with other Americans.
But the truth is true community feeds true community. Every step we take to be ourselves, to love others and let them love us, online or in real life, brings us out of isolation and closer to our real Home.
The lies of loneliness and isolation lose their power. We choose to trust God’s love is as real as He is. We choose to trust His love in others and read that post, listen to that story and open our hearts to the Truth. And, when we are ready, we share ours too. We embrace the God of hope who binds our wounds in the ties of communion and community.Leave a Comment