Do you ever feel the benefit of loneliness?
“Shakespeare, Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincolnnever saw a movie, heard a radio, or looked at television. They had 'Loneliness' and knew what to do with it. They were not afraid of being lonely because they knew that was when the creative mood in them would work.” Carl Sandberg
Have you ever noticed how topics come in waves?
The past few weeks I have heard/read/listened to multiple people talk about loneliness or, more precisely, our collective resistance to feeling lonely. The words have varied, but the consistent theme is most people avoid loneliness like the plague.
The first whiff of boredom prompts a channel change, a shopping spree, an engagement with the phone.
We drink. We eat. We self-medicate.
We numb ourselves.
And yet, for periods of time, loneliness can be helpful when we actually decide to feel the emotion.
Loneliness can make us more introspective, more creative, and more intentional about finding community; it makes us ponder our purpose, consider our decisions, and seek God.
Growth so often starts with stillness and a willingness to sit alone in discomfort.
I typically sneer at the oh-so-hip expression "feel the feels," but when it comes to loneliness, we should skip the temptation to numb and lean in to the "feels."