“If you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”
— Jodi Picoult
Anyone who has dealt with the felt sense of an overriding betrayal of a friend or group, akin to any sort of community, knows, by bitter experience, the truth in the above statement.
There are times when we have all sought our solitude, because it was the only safe place to run. People may say they love their alone-time, and that is occasionally the case, because there is the need physical, mental, or emotional renewal, but when people actively seek prolonged seclusion there is usually the presence of hurt within.
The fact is, as humans we have the preponderance for affinity; for connection.
We need to connect, and anyone challenging this idea could ask themselves, “Am I hurt by people (or hurting because of people) in any way?”
In my own life, I recall times in my late teens where I would routinely shut myself out from my social world for days at a time because I was sick of the way my peers treated me. There seemed to be some inner satisfaction in doing this; though I was not a believer at this stage, I perhaps felt the reassuring Presence of God, somehow. But, realistically, this reassuring presence—known to exacerbate and justify the isolation—was probably more reassurance from the devil, for Satan loves to get us isolated and get into our heads that way. But I certainly drew strength from having the power to segregate myself and to dream up goals in the manner of: “I’ll show them!”
The Source of Church and Family Hurts
Because churches, individual bodies’ of Christ, exist around social bounds under God, there will always be friction to the point of people feeling out of touch, misunderstood, not listened to, unloved—rejected. If only we could understand this as an ever present threat. These dynamics affect any ‘family’ set-up in the crisis of felt betrayal.
Particularly for the person who is prone to feelings of abandonment—those who have some union to an anxious attachment—this is a real threat. They will, from time to time, feel rejected by anyone who may not concur with their line of thinking; who resists closeness of heart and mind to them. These feelings of rejection, if we were wise, would be challenged in truth, so we could see the role fear is playing to disturb our sense for connection—pressuring our sense of connectedness.
If we would honour the truth, and see these feelings as they are, we may avoid the need to isolate ourselves.
We may rise above the felt pettiness of others in order to glorify God in our hurt.
Never Giving Up On Finding a Place to Belong
All of us belong somewhere. If truth were known, we actually belong in any good place, but we need to feel like we belong.
Many are the experiences of people against that flow, however.
They may never have felt that; a sense of true belonging. But our passionate commitment to find a place where we truly belong is rewarded when we resolve to never give up. But in order to find such a place we need to do our own inner work of preparation.
The fact we must come against is, we will be hurt.
People hurt people, but it is our role to utilise the wisdom and power of God to reconcile that hurt, rising above it. It is hurt people who hurt people. When we see this, we see a fearful individual (or individuals) who has/have hurt us, and we can have compassion for them. And sometimes it is us who are plain wrong, and in those cases we need to have the humility to admit we’re wrong. Many, many schisms come about because of sinful pride. Let’s be honest; being honest and swallowing our pride is a far better personal result.
If we are to get on we must aim to get on. Doing that is about compromise; a meeting of the minds and hearts, or at least agreeing to disagree without caging resentment.
Because, as humans, we were made to connect, isolation may be one of the worst kinds of life there is. We cannot know love, and be blessed by love, in isolation. And neither can we grow in isolation. The best of life exists where we feel we belong. Upon bouts of feeling isolated we need to, again, expand out into our world in courage to reconnect.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.