I am so lonely.
The words rolled off my tongue before I had the opportunity to think. Usually, I lead up to brutal honesty. Somewhere between the salad and the pizza, sharing lunch with a new friend, I found the courage to blurt out this deep longing. Karla covered the brokenness of my words with grace, inviting me to explain.
I moved from the cold, icy and gray Midwest to paradise about 18 months ago. Because of his job, my husband is still there and we’re counting the days until we are reunited. I forge ahead in a county known for its beauty, wealth and glorious sunshine.
Paradise has a price I’ve found and mine is relational. Having enjoyed deep friendships in the cold, I longed for fellowship in the warmth. Yet, people here are busy; too busy to share life together. You have to work to stay connected and for whatever reason, the energy of this place relegates fellowship to a non-priority.
Maybe it is my Midwestern values, but I want to relate, to live in community, to walk arm-in-arm. I crave finding someone who will encourage my dreams, share cheesecake with me, dry my tears, rush into life beside me with courage and conviction; someone for whom I will do the same. I want friends who really know me and like me anyway.
As a gregarious extrovert, making friends has never been my problem. However, here I am clueless on how to coax this level of closeness. Silence after invitations, emails or phone calls caused my insecurities to grow. I yearned for someone to laugh with, to find a connectedness that seemed so second-nature two time zones away.
I am so lonely. My fragileness hung in the air over our lunch table even after my story was exposed. Quite frankly, I expected Karla to retreat. She lives a noble life brimming with zest and adventure, which is what drew me to her in the first place. After speaking these words, I half expected her to think, “Who needs this?” and politely, but gracefully flee from the table.
Instead, she looked at me with love and asked, “Are you free this afternoon? Let’s go get our hair cut.” What followed was a divinely appointed whirlwind of activity. She took me to a Vietnamese hair salon, a Mexican mercado and an Arab fruit market because we also live in a county teaming with God’s glorious flavors of humanity. All the while, I silently thanked God for this surprise blessing.
Uprooted many times due to relocations required by her husband’s job, Karla understood how lonely being the new kid on the block can be. Only from the perspective of her own disappointments could she restore my hope. Overcoming her own struggles with finding and nurturing community blessed her with the ability to lessen the burden of mine. As she came alongside me to encourage, she oozed one thing – love. Well, maybe two – love and acceptance.
When we welcome to our tables those who might be different than us, the Lord meets us. When we linger there to invest in another, God blesses us. Community matters to God. For when we speak affirmation, joy, encouragement and forgiveness into another – when we truly celebrate fellowship – in one of God’s great mysteries we ourselves are transformed.
Oh, Myra…this is so honest, something so many can relate to, me included. I’m getting ready to move again, starting over in a place I know no one! Soooo…I hope I’ll have a new friend like Karla, Jesus with skin on :).
Thanks, Robin! Don’t know where you are moving, but if it is on the West Coast, you have a friend in Orange County. May God bless your move and provide you with wonderful friends who will encourage you and inspire you.
Me too, Myra! I’m a newbie in my hometown after being away for many years. I think I’ve said, “I’m so lonely.” a hundred times over the past 18 months. But I’ve realized that as I’ve become desperate, I’ve felt the Lord whisper to me that He would meet my need for friends, but that my new friendships would not look the same as my old ones. I think He’s pretty creative like that! Loved your post, lady. So glad you’re our second helping today.
Thanks, Lori for your very kind words. I’m sorry you’ve been lonely. It’s a tough spot to be in and I hope God rises up someone for you that will walk alongside you and be your friend. Karla has made a big difference in my life.
I have been the Karla to a new friend who was bold to send me an honest email telling me she was done with trying to find friends in our military town. I was born and raised here and have never struggled as she was. Also, I’m more of an introvert so hibernating away from others fuels me for being around others.
Her honesty was a wake up call to me to step out and befriend her for the sake of love, acceptance, and my community’s reputation. I have heard from others our community is in which it can be difficult to find a belonging place. Yikes!
Your honest admission was right and good. I’m glad Karla received it and moved forward with you rather than abandoning you.
I’m sure you’re looking forward to having your husband in Paradise with you…soon, I hope.
How fantastic that you’ve been a Karla! I applaud you in these efforts. It is always tough to move out of our comfort zones, so I hope you continue to reach out to people. I’m an extrovert, so I crave people. But I’m also strong enough to do things on my own. Still, isn’t it so much nicer to travel through this life with a friend? Thanks for your inspirational story. My husband and I are hoping he’ll be out here around the first of the year. But he is coming out for seven weeks end of August – mid October. Yeah.
So touching. Having moved many times myself, you brought back poignant and happy memories of special people I met during those “new kid on the block” times. Thanks for this blessing.
So touching. Having moved many times, this brought both poignant and happy memories of friends who came into my life during those “new-kid-on-the-block” times. Thanks for this blessing.
Thanks, Joan! You’ve been a great help with all your wonderful suggestions. I praise God for you.
I too can relate to feeling lonely at times, we are currently living in our third country but find making friends
is easy if you open your heart to those around you. Yes we are strangers here, yes we talk a little differently, yes I frequently use the wrong word or phrase but these stumbling s have made us friends, its easy for people you want to help you offer that hand of friendship. Sharing God’s word is a wonderful way to welcome new friends into your hearts, in fact a few encounters in church has made us many friends.
Some friends move away but with modern means of communications distances are smaller.
Thanks for the inspiration Myra/
I can so relate to this one. I’ve moved eight times in 23 years of marriage and can honestly say the last ten years have been a never ending circle of loneliness. I think sometimes when you say you don’t have heart friends where you live people think you are the reason. But as I talk to other women, I realize there are a lot of us that are lonely out there who long for engagement beyond small talk. Thanks for being honest, enjoyed your post.
Hi, Shelley – Yes, I believe lonliness is a universal problem a lot of women share. We don’t appreciate ourselves enough, have been hurt in the past or are afraid so we don’t always engage with others. This is disappointing because, as women, we have so much to share with our fellow sisters.
I’m so sorry to learn of your lonliness and all your moves. I’m praying right now that God sends just the right person into your life so you can rush into a fantastic adventure. Blessings!
I love that last sentence. It captures the beauty of community for me — we are changed and for the better! (Thank God for Kala’s!)
Thanks Lyli for your wonderful comment. We are deeply changed when we develop community with our sisters. Not only is it benefical for us to do that, but it is an awesome adventure! And I praise God for the Karlas in the world who can pierce through lonliness.
This is the second response to you about your article since I had read it yesterday. You are very articulate in your writing of feelings and experiences. Wow, I thought your husband was here with you! I feel lonely sometimes for my girlfriends I left behind in Colorado and beyond, but I can’t imagine going to a totally strange place “paradise” without my partner.
Extra blessings for you Myra and you journey right now. I have seen the Lord’s hand on my arrival and events and euphonies about discovering part of my family history here in San Clemente. I knew my maternal grandmother sold property here in San Clemente when my mother was a teen. What I discovered is that she was photographed giving a Sunday school lesson to adults and youngsters on a large driftwood tree at north beach. There was a photograph found in my mother’s belongings several years ago but was surprised when a docent at Casa Romantica recognized my grandmother’s picture and said she had a larger and more clear one. Where? In the Presbyterian Church here in SC. Of course I have visited, and sure enough, a large framed photograph is mounted in the narthex there. It reflects a “Legacy of Love of God” from my family history to me. Faithfulness is big in God’s rule and His people. Your walk with the Lord is a sure recognition of “faithfulness.”
Also, the gift of friendship cannot be replicated quite the same in each individual person–it is unique to the time and is such a blessing. You were blessed by this person in such a time of need…just the right one for you. Your “faithfulness” to the Lord was paid back in this occurence. I have a strong sense you will soon be reunited with your husband here in paradise. My best for continued beautiful writings.
Just read some of the comments of others on your article and learned that your husband is coming out sooner. I was not aware of that information when I wrote my response. See you Monday at 10:00 a.m. Myra! Carolyn G
I love how you show that community can start with just two! Sometimes we feel like we have to have a whole slew of gals or a posse of people, but in reality, we just need one. One good friend that God brings our way and we have community. And I love that Karla’s reaching out from having been there before. I think that’s so important as we walk through the bumpy spots and trials in our lives … as they become lessons we’ve learned from, we can then truly comfort and empathize with people who are walking the path for the first time. This was so good to read – thank you!
This beautiful, Myra. thanks for sharing so honestly.
Thank you for sharing. What a lovely reminder that when we risk to expose our vulnerabilities, God can provide the very thing we need the most.
What a great post. Thanks for sharing. I know it will touch many, whether that be in the connection to your world, or in opening their eyes to see others differently, and to reach out to them. As an introvert, I enjoy my time alone, yet I have know deep loneliness in the past. Thanks for the reminder that God has blessed me with a full, and busy life. To be happy in the moment with what I have.
Good post once again. Thank you=)