Thursday mornings are the days that I get to have coffee with three of my best friends, but this Thursday I had a boy in tow, because mothering always takes precedence over friendships and that’s something women understand. So I sat with my best friends with my boy at the table next and we quickly, quickly tried to catch up, to cram hours of conversations into too-brief moments. And I looked around and heard the words that were said but also the words that weren’t said, because that’s what happens with best friends.
It was over too quickly because life always, always calls, and we have papers to pick up and drop off (it seems we are always picking up or dropping off something, just an endless scavenger hunt of papers, papers, forms, papers). And so we all got into our large SUVs and vans, vehicles we would never pick for ourselves, cars that position us squarely in the “carpooling mom” category, a category that sometimes feels like the woman whose life is currently showing in boring black and white but longs for a life in HD brilliant color. And I watched my best friend drive away, hauling all of that empty van space behind her. And I thought that she looked lonely.
And sometimes in my empty van-space, as I look in the rear-view mirror and see so many seats, I can feel lonely too. But the loneliness isn’t for lack of company or friendships or family or opportunity. The loneliness is something different, a holy ache for things to be right.
The loneliness calls out from deep within our hearts, the place that we know we could never have any other person truly understand. And we can have coffee and we can talk on the phone and we can exchange hugs and all of those things help, they truly do, but at the end of the day, the deepest places of our longings and fears and dreams are just too deep, too mysterious to ever find words, and even when we struggle to find those words, they aren’t adequtate.
And so I look beside me at the stoplight, and catch my friend’s profile in her passenger window. And she looks small and a little scared in her big car. And I probably do too. And I wonder if that’s why the promise that Jesus sees my heart matters so much to me. I wonder if that’s why the idea that I have a Father who made me and who gets me and who knows, knows those deepest places of hope and hurt, a Father who doesn’t need me to be able to express them, I wonder if that’s why that is the true-est and best news I’ve ever heard. It means that I’m known, and that my wonderful friend is known.
And that when we feel lonely or a little scared–someone knows.
When we feel sad because the world hurts, because it does hurt and that’s part of this life–someone knows.
When we feel confused and unsure and tentative about where we stand, about what’s next–someone knows.
When we feel lonely–there is one who puts power behind his love, who claims us back from darkness, who calls us by name and calls us “his.” And our deepest longings are met in his deepest truths.
And I move from alone to known.
“Fear not, I have redeemed you. I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1