Loneliness is new for me.
During college, I had an average of five roommates. If I needed a study buddy or someone to accompany me grocery shopping (that King Sooper’s parking lot got creepy at night), I never needed to look farther than the adjacent bedroom. After graduation, I moved back to a home where the household count rarely fell below seven. There was always someone to wish me “good morning” or “good night.” I could always find a willing audience to hear about my day.
Now I live in a household of two, and the other member works 60+ hours a week, plays in a band, and regularly records musicians in his basement studio. I am often alone.
I find it difficult not to blame my spouse for my loneliness. I am needy; therefore, he must change his habits to fit my needs. I lash out in frustration when he adds something to his schedule because “I hardly ever see you!” Before long, tasks he once enjoyed become shadowed by my sour mood.
I find it difficult not to blame my spouse for my loneliness.
My gratitude for friendship, on the other hand, has increased exponentially over the past months. During a particularly lonely week, one girlfriend dropped by to watch a movie and create chocolate-peanut-butter cookies; another invited me to meet her for coffee and go for a jog; a third drove a considerable distance just to chat.
I am learning the hard way to set my spouse free to pursue his passions. His whole demeanor lightens when he plays the drums, and he’s never more excited to tell me about his day than after a recording session. I want him for myself, but my bitterness only erects barriers between my husband and the activities that bring him life. He wants to be there for me, but he can’t possibly satiate my craving for company.
I am learning the hard way to set my spouse free to pursue his passions.
Neither can my friends entirely fill my void. Although my mood buoys in their presence, they eventually return to their own husbands or their own jobs. I am reminded how critical are the daily tasks assigned to us. A job does so much more than pay bills, and chores accomplish greater purposes than removing dust or creating suds in the sink: seemingly menial tasks occupy our minds and alter our attitudes. I am never less happy than when my focus remains on myself.
I do not know the cure for my loneliness. Time, probably, or the acquisition of a full-time job might fill the bill. Either way, I am gradually noticing a change in my stability levels from out-of-control to slightly-more-normalized. I am thankful for the patient people who are (slowly) getting me there.
The Reluctant Bride
Mercy is not getting what you do deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.
– Quoted in a sermon by Pastor Mickey Lohr.