"Lonely" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward
GET A PRINT OF THIS CARTOON
ARE YOU LONELY?
The most prevalent feeling since leaving the church was loneliness. I‚Äôve thought about this a lot.
Actually, I started to realize that I was just as lonely within the church, but I didn‚Äôt feel it as acutely because I was surrounded by people.
I did have some meaningful relationships, but the fact that almost all of them vanished upon my departure from the church caused me to question the genuineness of the friendships.
The truth is I was going through a great deal of internal anguish as my ideas, philosophy and theology were changing. I had to keep much of what I was thinking inside. I had to hide a huge part of myself, and that created the sense of alienation and loneliness I was feeling in the middle of a church community.
When I did let some of what I was going through leak out through this blog, that‚Äôs what finally got me into trouble. This is why I left the ministry and the church at that time.
Strange, isn‚Äôt it? My internal feelings of alienation from the church actually lead to my external alienation from the church.
What helped me survive was I didn‚Äôt feel alienated from myself.
This is what I conclude:
We are all lonely in the universe. Alienation is a human condition. We can surround ourselves with other people. But as long as we aren‚Äôt self-aware and living openly with ourselves, then we will continue to experience this loneliness at a very deep level.
Find at least one other person with whom you can be your authentic self. I have a few people locally who I am open with. Especially my wife Lisa. Then a few local friends. That is growing. I‚Äôm also friends with people online who help to alleviate loneliness.
But, if you are having to hide your true self, it doesn‚Äôt matter how busy you are with other people, you will be like those in the cartoon above: lonely in a crowd.
Loving yourself unconditionally is the first cure to your loneliness.
Finding others who love you unconditionally enriches it.
If you‚Äôre lonely in your spiritual journey and through the deconstruction or change of your beliefs, join our awesome online community The Lasting Supper
. It really does help! And the small monthly fee is worth it. Check us out at TheLastingSupper.com!