What To Do With Loneliness

lonelinessII

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

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “What To Do With Loneliness

  1. Such a great post! I remember feeling the exact same way at camp when I was a kid, and I actually felt that way today, even! Heck, I feel like that now sometimes, too. But I also try to remind myself that whenever I’m feeling out of place, chances are someone else there is too.

    • Thanks, Jill. And it’s true, the likelihood that we’re not alone in our aloneness is slim. There’s always someone else we can share with that knows what it feels like! I hope you have a wonderful day, Jill!

  2. Great post and I fully agree! When I moved away the first time to study abroad, I felt a bit lonely at the beginning and even though it was great to talk to my family and friends, it wasn’t fully helping and going out and creating new friendships and having fun was really the way to go! I’m back in this situation as I’ve just moved once more and I find it harder this time since I’m looking for work and don’t know too many people in my current location!

  3. How absolutely beautiful. I love this girl…thanks for sharing:) xoxo Katie

  4. Hi Olivia, I don’t know if you’ll remember me from camp a few summers ago. Your post came up on my fb newsfeed and having just gone through my first 9 days with a new baby at home by myself most days, this post caught my attention and was exactly what I needed to read. I have felt isolated at times and can quickly turn to self pity. I’m so thankful for this reminder to use my quiet and lonely times to bring glory to our great God.

    • If this post was just for you, I am so so glad. I saw pictures of you and your baby! Congratulations, friend. Be encouraged and now that I’ve heard from you, I know how to be specifically praying as you begin motherhood. I’ve known it to be a bittersweet time for a lot of new mom’s. A lot of change, but very normal and short lived! I’m sure these 9 days have flown by even! Enjoy your sweet one. xoxo

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