THE MISSING PIECE IN THE BIG PICTURE:
DEALING WITH LONELINESS / EMPTINESS
THE MISSING PIECE
Does it ever happen to you when you are so convinced of the good that you do, yet, you are so “different” from the rest of the crowd? A time when even the people close to you do not understand you? When the “learned” and the so-called “wise” of this world – they look at you
with suspicion or even condemn you? Are there times when you know and feel that the pieces of your life just don’t seem fit or, simply, there is just a missing piece – and it is right in your middle?
Yes, a vast empty space, a lonely place of quiet tears. Maybe, tears from failed relationships, tears from abandonment or from fears of being left alone, or from the pains of mistrusts and betrayals. That no matter where the tears come from they leave behind a mysterious space of emptiness inside you.
My friend, the Lord knows what you’ve been through and He knows what you are going through because He’s been there before. And He’s willing to journey with you. He holds the key to this empty room in your heart. Remember, He sees the big picture and He completes it. HE is, after all, your missing piece. Let us entrust the empty spaces of our world to Him.
SEEING THE BIG PICTURE
► The first condition needed to see the big picture: Light of God
Is 9:1 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
It will not be possible to see the whole picture of God’s role in our lives if we continue to live in the darkness of sin. Expose these dark areas to the Divine Light of God’s Mercy through remembering, repentance and reconciliation. For unless you see the big picture you will be unable to see where there’s a missing piece, and the roles that God and your attitude play in the big game of life.
► Looking from a distance: Retreat with God
Of course you’d never see the big pix if you just sit inside a corner of your shell moping. By retreating with God I mean exercising self-objectivity, the ability to realistically assess your personal strengths and weaknesses with God as your mentor. It may entail making the most out of your time alone. Aloneness (as opposed to loneliness) can be a very positive experience. Aloneness, or solitude, gives us a chance to reflect on our lives, to meditate on God’s will for us and to find healing for the wounds inflicted by the world. Plan regular times of solitude in your life. Mondays, my days-off, for example, are my solitude days. Nothing heavy, really; lifting your thoughts up to Him and making Him ask you: “How are you doing my dear child?” Engaging in honest to goodness self assessment is already your prayer response. I do mine while driving. You can do yours while taking a ride to work, to school, or just sitting in a chapel corner, under a tree (you’d be lucky to find one in the city without muggers, though), or your school / office canteen (of course with a notebook and pen in hand for props. Hehe don’t invite suspicions!)
►Admit the Lack. Only after you acknowledge before God and yourself that you are lonely and feel empty can you take the steps necessary to escape from your isolation or feeling of emptiness. This is not easy for those who only want the Picture Perfect and not the Big Picture.
And mind you, the bigger picture can look so “ugly” you’d want to disown it. DON’T! Just own it, admit it, accept it. (Specially, before others find out about it, when it can really look and feel ugly!)
► Consider the Causes. Evaluate your life honestly: identify what the causes are of your loneliness / emptiness: your attitude? self perception? Do you need to break free from thinking / conventions that do not make you a better person? Are there negative emotions and behaviors that may be at the root of your loneliness/ emptiness?
► Accept What Cannot Be Changed. The death of a spouse, a relocation away from old friends, and other unalterable circumstances must be faced squarely. God can use transitions in our lives to open doors to new experiences, but we must be willing to let go of the past and move on.
► Alter What Can Be Changed. Many of the causes of loneliness / emptiness can be overcome. Do you fear rejection because you feel inadequate? Do you stay in your home watching television when you could be at a social function? Has your best friend just moved away? Regardless of the reason for your loneliness/ emptiness, you owe it to yourself to take measures that will meet the problem head-on.
► Submit Your Empty Space to the Missing Piece: God. Pray for Healing. Syempre, this is the most important part of the jigsaw game; the reason why you need to see the Big Picture, in the first place. To put God right in that empty space. Sounds easy? Give it a try and you’ll know. Ano pa kaya ang hahanapin mo? Look at all the positions our God can fill in in your life!
For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace (Is 9:5 ).
(In Christian tradition and liturgy, this passage is used to refer to Christ. Upon his shoulder dominion rests: authority. Wonder-Counselor: remarkable for his wisdom and prudence. God-Hero: a warrior and a defender of his people, like God himself. Father-Forever: ever devoted to his people. Prince of Peace: his reign will be characterized by peace. NAB)
Scriptural Prescriptions to Loneliness
1. Regeneration, reconciliation with God. Col. 1:21,22
2. Confess known sins – 1 Jn. 1:9
3. Accept God’s forgiveness – Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14
4. Forgive others – Eph. 4:32
5. Recognize and affirm the presence of God times of trials-Josh 1:9; Ps.23; Isa.41:10; 43:2;
6. Be courageous. Christ is our companion: Mt. 28:20; Jn. 16:32; Heb. 13:5
7. Accept the work of the Comforter, the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit of Christ – Jn. 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7
8. Participate in the fellowship and community of the Body of Christ, the Church – Heb. 10:25
9. Participate in the functional ministry of the Body of Christ in using your spiritual gifts – Rom. 12:4-6; 1 Cor. 12
O ano? Lonely ka pa rin? Empty pa rin ba ang feeling mo? If symptoms persist, consult your Spiritual Director or your confessor.