It can often be the most terrifying moment in a babysitter’s life: the moment mommy leaves. No matter how many hugs and kisses and mommy gives, no matter how many times she reassures her little one, “I will be back soon”, no matter how quietly she tries to sneak out the door. It. Still. Happens. Even the most veteran babysitters may still find their eyes widening in terror as the little human being entrusted to their care begins to scrunch his nose, shut his eyes, and release from his lungs the most bone-chilling scream humanity has ever heard, “I WANT MY MOMMY!” This cry can go on for minutes, until the skilled babysitter quickly distracts the little human with Tonka trucks or TV (both good options), or, I have personally seen this continue for hours. The babysitter feels helpless, and the most awkward kind of helpless: she is thankful the child loves his mother enough to miss her, but is willing to do almost any manipulative tactic to get the crying to cease, and to get the child to forget about the mommy he so loves. In my short life, I have babysat hundreds of children, and have experienced this event every time, albeit, on varying levels. I can’t help but think that this is what it must have been like for Adam, after he was separated from God. I can’t help but think that this is what it is like for all of us, no matter how big we are, to be separated from God. To be separated at all. Because isn’t that the WORST thing in the world? To be separated? To be alone? To be isolated? Perhaps the reason loneliness and separation hurt so much, is because humans weren’t intended to feel them. Loneliness was never part of how things were supposed to be. Perhaps we are all like the screaming toddler, and have just learned to mask the pain into a socially acceptable way. Although we may no longer be crying and throwing our Lincoln logs, and screaming for our mommy (let’s be real, how many of us would even be brave enough to use the term “mommy”, in fear of being looked at as a little kid?), we still feel the pain of the separation, and instead mask it with drugs, alcohol, cutting, depression, rebellion and a slew of other things.
The Worst Breakup…Ever
When I think about the Garden of Eden, I tend to think of something like the above picture, only brighter and bigger. Notice the lion chilling next to the lamb and not looking at him like a four course meal? Or, it’s summer time, so I personally like that Adam and Eve are naked and aren’t the least bit worried about bug bites or poison ivy (wouldn’t that be nice?). They must have had the best tans, too, and no tan lines!
Although we often compare the Garden of Eden to our present world by noticing what the Garden of Eden lacks (pain, suffering, fried chicken), we often forget WHO it lacks. God. To me, the absolute COOLEST and most overlooked part of the Garden of Eden is that God was physically there. Sure, God has appeared to people throughout the Bible in the form of a cloud, a burning bush and a burning flame, but GOD was actually IN THE GARDEN! What does He even look like? Not only did Adam and Eve get to look at God, but they interacted with Him.
When the cool evening breezes were blowing, Adam and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the man,
“Where are you?”
He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked”
“Who told you that you were naked?” The LORD God asked.
I want to quickly point out three important parts from this conversation:
- Adam and Eve heard God walking. Thus, they somehow knew the sound of God’s walk. How did they know the sound of God’s walk, and know it was him and no their pet Panda walking around? Obviously, God came and hung out with them frequently.
- Adam and Eve were not afraid of God, they were afraid of being naked; they had to, essentially, make themselves look better before God (so they thought).
- GOD SOUGHT OUT ADAM AND EVE! *This is a super important point, and worthy of it’s own blog post.
Anyways, we know the rest of the story. Adam and Eve get punished. I, personally, don’t believe these punishments were God making these things happen, but instead, saying what would happen. They were, in summary:
- Hard, physical, manual labor/tough work
- Physical pain during childbirth
- Men now “rule” over women, and women seek to take their rule
- And, the point of today’s blog post, the most commonly overlooked punishment: physical separation from God
Why Lonely Hurts
So, this is where we find ourselves: separated. Alone. Feeling things we were never made to feel. Again: humans were never made to feel lonely. Not only were humans made to forever be with each other (so maybe Adam and Eve were extroverts?), they were made to be in constant fellowship with God. I cannot imagine how awful the first night out of the Garden must have been like. Imagine being Adam or Eve:
- You’re feeling scared, FOR THE FIRST TIME. And you’re an adult.
- You step on a rock and it hurts, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER.
- You see an animal eat another animal for the first time ever, WHAT IS THIS?
- You feel angry FOR THE FIRST TIME.
- You want to go home, and you can’t. You’re cold, angry, terrified, and alone. And, you know what, it was probably raining. Because, could you really have THAT AWFUL of a day and it be sunny? Well, the first rainfall wasn’t until several generations later, so it was sunny. The weather couldn’t even match your mood. BAD. DAY.
And, this is where we are now: separated. We have all been there:
- Being chosen last for the team in gym class
- Having to eat alone in the cafeteria
- Not having anyone to do something with Friday night
- Not having a prom date
- Watching all of your friends get married, and you’ve still never had a boyfriend
- Being dumped after several years
- Loosing a parent or a loved one
Lonely may look different, but we have all felt it. And, in these situations, how many of you cried out to God, and still felt lonely? Let’s be honest, we were expecting a lightning bolt, or a loud thunder voice, or even Jesus to magically appear like one of the Sunday school paintings:
I bet Jesus is a great hugger
And, if any of those things had happened, you would have stopped reading this a long time ago. And here’s the sad truth: we will always be lonely, in some extent, until we are reunited with God and Christ. Sure, our emotional and physical needs may be fulfilled, but our spiritual needs can never be completely fulfilled until our soul is reunited with the creator of our soul.
So, you’re probably thinking, man Krista, this is depressing. And, part of you is hoping that I’m about to post something awesome, some link to a supplement made in Taiwan that you take twice a day and you will never feel lonely again. Well, sorry to disappoint, but you won’t find that here. But, what I can offer, is a little bit of hope, and a few practical suggestions.
Let’s be real: we’ve all wanted to have coffee with Jesus. What kind of coffee do you think he drinks? Personally, I’m guessing something organic, and something fair trade.
So badly I wish I could just sit down and talk to Jesus. Yeah, I know we’re taught in Sunday School that we can talk to God anywhere, anytime, about anything, but let’s be real: unless you’re having visions, your conversation with God isn’t the kind of conversation many of us desire. But, I do have hope in this: GOD PURSUES YOU RELENTLESSLY.
- It was God that sought out Adam and Eve after they sinned. He did not just throw them out. He put into place the great redemption plan.
- Have you read Exodus? The Israelites ran away from God over and over again, and He ran after them, over and over again.
And, King David said it beautifully in Psalm 23: “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life” (v. 6). If you’re looking for a fantastic blog post about God pursuing us, I highly recommend Jim Feiker’s blog post.
- Go to where you feel God’s presence. Personally, I have two spots:
Lake Willoughby, in Northern Vermont where my family has a camp.
My front yard. I have a stonewall where I can sit and look out over the mountains.
In addition to the hope that God pursues us and constantly seeks relationship with us, know this, sweet reader: YOU ARE WANTED. YOU ARE WORTHY OF BEING LOVED. YOU ARE WORTH IT.
There ARE people that want you, and love you. I know this can be tough in middle and high school, but try these things:
- Seek out people with common interests
- Consider having a mentor
- Be friends with people outside of your immediate social circles
Additionally, if you believe you are struggling with depression, talk to your doctor. Depression is a real illness. Additionally, find someone to talk to:
- A guidance counselor
- A therapist/counselor
- A mentor
Additionally, there are groups on social media outlets, such as Facebook, for people to just share what’s going on in their lives. I’m part of one. These groups can be “heavy” as many people are venting and talking through their problems, but can also be a tremendous source of support.
Additionally, you can always feel free to message me on my instagram. My username is the same as this wordpress: kristaann_vt . I’m always happy to listen.
Finally, if you ever think of harming yourself or another person, TELL SOMEONE! A counselor or a guidance counselors are a great start. Also, the Suicide Helpline is available 24/7 and can connect you with local resources: 1 (800) 273-8255
However, please, please, please remember, although it is sad: people are people. We are all broken. We all have our struggles. Although you are loved, people will let you down. Just because someone may disappoint you, does not mean that you are not loved or not wanted.
Previous reader. Please remember: YOU. ARE. WANTED. YOU. ARE. LOVED. Feeling lonely is a reminder that this is now how it is supposed to be: we were never meant to be alone, to feel isolated. If you do feel lonely, there is nothing wrong with you.
- Seek God. Remember the Creator of the stars and the oceans knows you by name and pursues you. No matter what you have done. No matter how far you have run. HE WANTS YOU. He wants you just the way you are. Even though Adam and Eve had sinned, even though they tried to hide, HE WENT AFTER THEM. And He’s pursuing you, too.
- You are wanted. Even if you are rejected by your friends and family, you are wanted. Jesus was rejected by his entire town and his brothers. There are people that want you. Seek out like minded people.
- Never be afraid to ask for help. You have have been lonely for an extended period of time, talk to a trusted adult, a counselor or a mature friend. If you ever have any thoughts of harming yourself or others, get help right away. Again, the phone number for the 24/7 suicide helpline is: 1 (800) 273-8255
Watch, and feel loved.
Much love and many blessings,
xoxo Krista xoxo