Sometimes I wonder whether the nests feel empty when the birds leave. I wonder whether every bird chirps a happy song in the morning. Are there times the hummingbird wishes it did not have to fly? Are there mornings when the birds just don’t want to chirp? Is their song ever devoid of praise?
It’s been a long day. I’m headed home in a bus I wish would be a little bit quieter. A part of me appreciates that the noise from the music is crowding out the noise in my head though. But I know that in a few minutes I’ll be home; alone with my thoughts. I’m wondering whether the man sitting next to me can sense that I’m really trying to hold myself together, trying really hard to not break down and make him uncomfortable. I’m wondering whether there are days when he too had felt like he just doesn’t want to go home.
I’ve had a good day full of refreshing conversations. It’s also been marked by good food and laughter. I was out with some friends. As we were about to part ways, Keith thought it was a good idea to bring up that “about a month ago, I slid into your dm, you ignored me bla bla bla” song. He’d then ask what everyone’s plans for Valentine’s were. I’m the only single person in my small circle of friends. So like last and every other Valentine’s before that, my plans were to get a great book and have a great read. The usual “you really need to consider getting yourself someone”, “how about Eric? Tom? Etc”, “you need to stop turning down every good man who comes your way” started.
I giggled and laughed like it was funny while all I wanted to do was ask them to stop. Turning 28 does that to you. It kills a joke and turns it into a moment of self reflection. And as the jokes were being cracked, so was my heart.
I suddenly had a longing to be with someone. To walk home into a house less quiet. To have someone to tell every tiny little detail of my day without feeling like I’m offloading too much on them. To belong to and with someone. To have someone who laughs at my bad jokes at 11pm. To have an extra plate at the table cause seriously, this eating out is not fun anymore.
I wished I could tell them how the jokes make me feel. The emptiness that comes with every “what was wrong with Tony?” I wished I could tell them how alone I feel when all we can talk about when we meet is dates and relationships. How different our friendship feels. I wanted to admit that there are times I go to God asking for a little more grace and strength just to be able to celebrate with them genuinely. I wanted to admit that I don’t always enjoy the being alone regardless of how many times I say that I do. That in days like today, I could really use that other half.
I wonder whether someone else feels like this sometimes. I wonder whether in this really loud bus, anyone else is battling back tears from an extremely tiresome day, a call they received or a task they didn’t complete. I wonder whether anyone else stuck in this traffic is afraid of going back home as everything around the house reminds them of just how alone they are at the end of the day. Does anyone else feel like they could take an offer to change their name, move to a new place and start over, even leaving their family and friends behind with hope of finding some more “sensitive” humans.
As my thoughts continue to wonder, a verse from Psalms 23 comes to mind; Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. And I feel a little wave of comfort wash over me. What a beautiful reminder that even though it doesn’t feel like it right now, I am not alone. The Lord is with me. How comforting!
The bus has stopped. I’m five minutes away from home. Sometimes the walk feels a little bit more than thirty minutes depending on the kind of day I’ve had. But today, it may feel a little less. I’m letting comfort in and I’m bursting in praise. I can see no one on this path, but as I slowly raise my voice, I feel a little bit less alone. I remember of a time when Jesus would withdraw to lonely places and pray. And I decide that I want to share in the beauty of prayers made in solitude.
I’m now home. I set my things down and thank God for the reminder that He is and will be with me to the end of time. But I also acknowledge that sometimes, loneliness doesn’t instantly drown in the praise. So I ask Him to sit with me in the loneliness, until morning comes and I hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
It’s totally normal to have feelings of emptiness. Some days the feelings may last longer than others. And at times the feelings may keep coming up at very short intervals. But regardless of how and when they come to you, you have God to sit and walk with you in the quiet. And you have a friend in us.
Talk to us. Sometimes we have scriptures to give, others we will just join and sit quietly with you until dawn breaks but we hope we can have more days when we can give both scriptural comfort and quiet company.
Whether the birds chirp sad songs some time, or the sun rises a little bit later than you hoped it would, be comforted in the fact that it always rises and the birds will always chirp.