My mom answered the phone in her cheery and way, “Sweety! It’s so good to hear from you!” All I could burst out between sobs was, “I’m so lonely, I don’t know how I’m going to get through this summer.” Two weeks earlier I had arrived to be a summer teen counselor at a large and very beautiful camp in Lake Country Ontario. From the first day everyone was cheerful and welcoming, but with staff and campers numbering over a thousand, I felt totally out of place.
They say when you’re homesick not to call home too much, and I knew that I just had to shake the increasing weight of loneliness I was experiencing. To me everyone looked as though they belonged, had friends, fit in. But oddly enough, once I shared how I was feeling I learned that I wasn’t alone in that feeling…even amongst those who looked on the “in”!
Determined to fulfill my role that summer, I took my loneliness and turned it into something I could give back. I was there first and foremost to counsel, befriend, and serve those high school girls. So that’s what I did. Every time I felt a hint of sadness, I walked with them to dinner. Every time I felt like I didn’t have a place, I went back to the cabin to see if anyone needed to talk. Every time I wanted to pity myself, I threw myself all the more into pouring myself out.
And it was like medicine.
Rather than being engulfed in loneliness I threw myself all the more into giving of myself as Christ did. Oddly enough, I was awarded the girls “Counselor of the Summer” (which is not the point of the story). But at the end of a hard yet rewarding fourteen weeks, I saw how God blessed a small act of obedience by freeing me from loneliness.
The greater the potential for loneliness, sadness, and out-of-placeness, the greater the potential for fruitful, peaceful, joyful living.
photo credit: ignitelight