I have attacks of loneliness.
They almost always happen on Sundays.
I am not sure why. I love and am loved by my church body. I can sit with many different friends and families. It looks as if I’m included. But I often have this fear when entering the worship center. My eyes dart wildly, looking for someone who will want me. Looking for an open seat. Looking for a home.
It’s like I’m back in middle school, just exiting the lunch line with my tray, scanning the cafeteria and looking for a spot. Each table is full or seems unwelcoming. Everyone already has their friends, their home, their belonging. I begin to panic.
I say these things NOT to get my congregation to fight over each other to have me sit with them, but because I’ve realized I’m not alone in this feeling. A few weeks ago I entered late and asked to sit next to a friend. After the service she thanked me for sitting with her and confessed that she had been tearful throughout the first part of the service because she felt so lonely. When I shared my experience and feelings, she was shocked! It appeared to her that I always had a home. And I would have said the same about her.
I don’t think I’m alone in this feeling.
I’m determined to fight these feelings. Instead of being focused on who will fight over me or where I should call home each Sunday. I choose to focus on who I can move toward. Whose loneliness I can alleviate, if even just for an hour.
Maybe then my own attacks of loneliness will cease.