When was the last time you found yourself immersed in something that brought you joy? I’m not talking about the “happiness” that comes with making an Amazon purchase, or getting a few laughs out of your favorite Netflix series. I’m talking about the deep satisfaction of when you got out there and did something that didn’t require a screen, a click, or a swipe to the right.
We each find that high through our own unique avenues maybe by hitting the gym (I wish that was mine all the time), creating art, playing music, cooking a meal, loving family, finding an adrenaline rush and countless other ways. For me, a prevalent avenue of joy is seeing that fish hit the fly in those last few minutes of daylight when the air has cooled down. It seems odd to say but it’s a lonely joy. It’s a joy that comes from being so connected to the moment, and it doesn’t require the presence of others.
I have started to understand that loneliness isn’t a feeling to suppress but maybe a cue that you need to lean into gaining a deeper understanding of who you are and what you hope to be. We are caught in a time that makes it impossible to be alone. When we are alone we unthinkingly scroll through our news feed, pin things, watch another episode and all of which are often far removed from our lives. We are becoming more lonely by finding things to not be alone.
We can avoid loneliness so easily, but what are we losing because of that? What discoveries about us are we missing out on because we focus on the external and shallow happy feelings we get from being entertained? Is it possible that being lonely is an opportunity to capitalize on finding what you can cultivate in your character, talents, and dreams for life? Think of those conversations we could be having with our spouses, the words we could be writing, and the people we could be loving if we could just capture those moments that we just hand away to entertainment.
So here’s what I hope I can encourage you in. If you are lonely, it doesn’t mean you should go find more friends (but maybe it does every once in awhile). It doesn’t mean you are a loser for being lonely or that you’re undesirable company. I have found that when I acknowledge my loneliness that I’m able to think clearly about the things that make me anxious or to tackle what I have been avoiding. It might be that you need to put the phone down and understand what it is your soul is lonely for. It could be prompting you to go on a walk, to pick up a book you love, tell your kiddo you’re proud of them, or to finally stop adding another pin to that damned board and go make something yourself. Do something that doesn’t take your time and gives nothing back.
For me, it has often meant that I need to drive down the road and see what fish are stacked up in that pool on the river I drive by everyday. Fly fishing helps me become close to who I feel created me and never leaves me feeling like I wasted my time. Never have I been on a river and not felt a deep sense of gratitude for this life and for who I go home to get to share it with.
May this leave you encouraged and remind you that your loneliness is the call of your soul asking for you to cultivate what it is you do to bring light to the world. Go kiss your wife, call your parents, tie a fly, pray, or whatever your soul is needing instead of looking at your phone tonight.
With so much love,