I do not write this post for the sake of self expression. I write it because I know so many of you are familiar with aching loneliness. In my darker moments I was certain I was the only one feeling so utterly excluded. But this is a lie. If you think you’re the only one who feels alone, this too is a lie. Let me tell you the truth. You are not alone. You are loved. There is One who has died to be close to you. When you join Him in the Light you will have sweet fellowship with those who are in the Light too!
I woke from surgery very sore and weak, but experiencing longed for relief. No more vomiting. No more excruciating pain. The needle pokes for IVs didn’t even bother me much – not compared to the pain I’d been in a few hours before. The pain of a poisonous appendix.
In my recovery room, I occupied the windowed side of the room while my roommate was closer to the hallway door. I was glad for the view of summer outside my window.
My parents made sure I was doing well and was settled. Then they left. They returned from time to time, but mostly I was alone.
Three days I stayed. Many of those hours were spent alone in my recovery bed. The days felt like an eternity of emptiness; waiting achingly for my family to visit. I was only eight. Lonely. Recovering from emergency surgery. Scared.
True, I wasn’t completely alone. I had a roommate, though we didn’t speak much. Nurses and doctors came to check on me, have me breathe into a strange plastic apparatus, take my blood pressure and pulse and temperature, and bring me food. But, I still felt alone and abandoned.
The most piercing pain of loneliness came one afternoon when my roommate had at least half a dozen visitors. One of her guests turned my way, glanced at the room dividing curtain, and pulled it shut; cutting me off from any connection or tenderness or even a friendly smile. I was shut out from their attention, compassion, consideration. And I was shut in. Shut in, trapped, within myself. The curtain blocked my view of the hallway door. I was utterly alone. But I could still hear the kind and doting words of my roommate’s family and friends on the other side of the curtain. I could see their shadows through the thin fabric, but couldn’t participate in their activity. I could hear their words and laughter, but couldn’t speak or be spoken to. I was, as I had already begun to feel before the surgery, separate from the rest of humanity. Not necessarily despised or loathed, but excluded and non-existent.
So long these feelings have lingered. Through the teen years such feelings were understandably overwhelming. But even now they haunt me at times. My hospital experience as a child epitomizes what I have felt for nearly my entire life. I feel as though the curtain is pulled between me and the rest of the world. Like I’m an outside observer, never an engaged participant in relationships. Like I’m shut in, shut out, bound up, constrained.
Several months ago this childhood scene splashed upon my memory afresh. I sobbed as I recognized those same feelings and wounds in my soul even now. I still feel like my eight year old self sometimes.
In agony of heart, I poured out my feelings and thoughts to the Lord as salty tears streamed down my face. I cried out to Him about the depths of my pain and loneliness. I cried out from behind the pulled curtain. Desperately, I cried.
In that most gracious and healing moment, God the Holy Spirit implanted in my mind a new scene. An ancient original. History, deeper than my own, was rewriting my memory. As I gazed in agony upon that closed curtain, I noticed something different. Starting from the top, the curtain began to tear. And what a brilliant tear it was! The whole curtain tore in brightest light from top to bottom. And through the tear, though I didn’t see Him in my mind’s eye, I knew with a knowing beyond sight that Jesus, my crucified and resurrected Lord, was there in the light.
“Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”Mark 15:38
His presence there, beyond the torn veil, silently spoke to my heart. Because of the eternal sacrifice and resurrected life of Christ, I am no longer shut out or shut in. I have acceptance and access to the most precious of all relationships – a relationship with my Creator. I have the right to fully participate and enjoy involvement in His work because of the purifying blood of Jesus.
Whether others have pulled the curtain or I have pulled the curtain on myself, God showed Himself to me as the One who tore the veil, who removes separation, who invites me into relationship and participation in His Life. He pursued and continues to pursue me. He tore the veil so He could come close to me and I can draw near to Him. Any perceived exclusion is a lie. Any destructive sense of loneliness is a deception from the Deceiver Himself.
Not only is there now unity in my relationship with God, but as a member of the Body of Christ, I am supernaturally knit together with my brothers and sisters in Christ as well! As I am beginning to comprehend the reality of this truth, fellowship fills me up and scatters loneliness. Praise the Lord! He has done marvelous things!
“…but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another…”1 John 1:7a
The veil has been torn. It is up to us to step through it and into the Light!