Lonely is a frequent visitor at my house. She is unwelcome but she keeps sneaking in the back door. She creeps in while I watch TV or sometimes while I wash dishes or go to the grocery store. She thinks she is keeping me company but in reality she just makes me miserable. I go a few days without seeing her and I think perhaps I am rid of her for good, the locks worked! And then I sense her presence; I know when she is here because I feel pretty sorry for myself. I try to stay busy because if I sit down, she sits down and it’s a downward spiral from there.
A visit from Lonely requires a recovery period, no, she doesn’t make any laundry or dirty any dishes, but my heart takes a beating when she comes. I have to fight to escape from her lies. Oh, I didn’t mention that? Yes, she lies. I believe most of what she says is untruth. I didn’t always feel that way. For a time I invited her to breakfast each morning, believing she was my only companion. For too long, I believed everything she said and she isn’t kind. “You have no one,” she would say with a mouthful of english muffin. “You have no friends, no community, and no one to grab dessert or a run with.” She takes a long sip of coffee and says, “And really, that’s probably a good thing, because you don’t really have much to offer anyway.” All of a sudden my appetite would disappear and she would end up eating my english muffin too. She would ask to stay for lunch and sometimes I let her, even though she is mean.
I devised a few tricks to deter her. Sometimes The Today Show would work to keep her away, but their banter made me miss banter and she would waltz into the room. A few times cleaning the house worked, but I admit that it’s no longer a strategy I employ. Often, texting with a friend or turning up the music would suffice to keep her on the front porch instead of barging through the front door.
She has worn out her welcome and thankfully her visits have tapered off. This coincided with my decision to hang with Truth. With The Word. With I Am. He contradicts Lonely and He whispers truths, “You are loved. You have value. I have a plan for you. I am always with you.” These words soothe my restless spirit. They give me purpose when I feel I have none. When my heart is full of truth, Lonely can’t fit. When I hold the hand that is always beside me, Lonely walks in the opposite direction.
Here’s the thing. I recognize her sitting on the porch at other people’s houses. I see her trailing behind the mom at the school. She doesn’t even look my way. And that is fine with me. But I see her. I can’t ignore her presence in others lives. I step into conversation with the mom in hopes that she sees the truth-teller who holds my hand. I must stop and talk to this mom because I know Lonely is a liar who steals joy and english muffins. I see Lonely glare at me as I chat with the mom at the school. And then I just smile as Lonely walks away.