Tag Archives: Loneliness

26 to 26: Birthday.

Today the countdown ends.

Today is my birthday.

I always feel like birthdays are supposed to be a big deal, like maybe some insanely life-altering moment is just around the corner. But birthdays are just that—days. Normal days filled with normal hours and ordinary minutes and common seconds. They tick away just like average Fridays.

I’m not sure what I was thinking today would be like when I started all of this. I guess that I imagined that I would wake up to a kick in the stomach and a neon “26” looming over my bed. I guess that I thought that life would feel different or time would feel different and really none of that is true.

In reality, I took a nap and carried grudges and brushed my teeth, all like a normal day.

Yet today has been a time of reflection on this journey that I created for myself. I have learned a lot along my path to 26, seeking out and uncovering lessons in the cracks and crevices of the daily grind.

I have felt full and empty; lonely and cared for; hopeful and disheartened. I have laughed and cried and regretted words spoken and actions taken.

It has all been an adventure for me. At different times, this journey of “26 to 26” has felt like both a burden and a privilege. It has forced me to express my feelings and confront some of my fears. It has forced me to cultivate writing as a discipline.

As I bring this series to a close, I am thankful that God does not finish with us until the day we finish this race set before us. I am thankful that life leads us down roads and alley ways lined with lessons in grace and forgiveness and selflessness and humility. I am thankful to be walking down those roads. Even now. Even when they seem too hard, too narrow.

Today I had breakfast with some of my lovely lady friends (the best!), snuggled with my pup while catching up on The Walking Dead (too cute!), noshed on a delicious (gluten free & vegan!) chocolate raspberry cupcake from Esselon Café (drool!), at a dinner of Riceworks chips (glamorous & health conscious!), and finished the day out with a massage (yesssssss!)

It was quiet and lovely.

As I look upon today and the last 26 days, I feel full. Full of so many things: memories, gratitude, dreams, love. I feel nourished in a way, like in leaking words into the blogosphere there’s been some fullness attained, some vision realized.

I want to thank all of you (aka my gramma, Auntie Chris, & Aunt Vicki) who have read along, learned along with me. I am so grateful to have had you all there, cheering me on, nodding your heads in support. I love you for more reasons that just you reading my silly blog.

Another year older, another day wiser. Here’s to making 26 count for the Kingdom!

Cheers!

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26 to 26: Life isn’t always peachy.

I wish that there was one area of my life that I felt good about right now.

I wish saying that aloud didn’t sound so terribly miserable and ungrateful.

I wish I knew what I meant by good.

good  [goo d]

adjective, bet·ter, best.

1. morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious: a good man.

2. satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree: a good teacher; good health.

3. of high quality; excellent.

4. right; proper; fit: It is good that you are here. His credentials are good.

It’s just that things feel hard right now—working, teaching, trusting, feeling. Living feels a lot like heavy lifting on these long, cold days.

I am the heavy lifting and the lifter. It’s the responsibilities and obligations and fears and apathy that are multiplying the weight.

The truth is that life is not always satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree. Satisfactory. Life does not always feel satisfying. I wish that every day felt like a cool glass of water quenching my thirst on a hot August day but some days feel like sipping sand to quench an insatiable thirst.

Good is not an objective unit of measurement. Good changes with the day, with the seasons. Just because something doesn’t feel good, doesn’t mean that it is automatically bad.

You have to stop letting the memory of yesterday interfere with your living of today.

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You are there.

I don’t like to be alone much. It makes me think. It makes me feel.

I don’t like the quiet because it makes me feel alone.

It’s quiet and I’m alone but only in a metaphorical sense. It’s midnight but Miranda is reading just a few yards away, the fluorescent glow of her iPhone reflecting off our yellow walls.

I just finished reading in the Gospel of Matthew. I closed the Book, shut the light off for the night.

I can’t shut off my mind.

I’m thinking about the white washed tombs that Jesus talked about.

I’m thinking about all of the dead things inside of me. It feels like they’re living a lot of times.

How can something be dead and yet feel so alive?

Possess some sort of life? Maintain some measure of power?

I want to make a list of everyone that I know who is a Pharisee. I want to succumb to the idea that they are the problem with the church in America. I want to write their name on a list of those to blame for the defamation of Jesus’ name. But I can’t put the pen to the paper of my mind.

I am plagued by this idea, haunted by this thought:

It is me.

I’ve spent the last year casting blame in each direction, blaming the gossip and the liar and the Pastor and the parishioner. I’ve spent the last year with my eyes wide-open to the hypocrisy of those around me and yet completely blind to my own.

I have a beam in my eye. I can’t see clearly.

I’ve spent the last year leading, limping along and hoping that no one would notice. That no one would find me out. That no one would run and tell. That no one would banish me to the fringes, to be alone with myself.

Anything but that.

I don’t think I’m alone in my distain for solidarity. It’s a fear of many. Fear that their loved ones will leave them- physically, emotionally. Fear of rejection. I live in fear of alone.

They say that it is in that aloneness that God speaks. That it is in that quiet where the groanings of our souls are realized.

But I am afraid of quiet because it is rarely there that I hear God. The quiet is where my sins whisper and my desires chafe against my heart, rubbing it raw. The still night is when my doubts come creeping closer and my fear comes to rattle my bedposts.

But late on this night, as my veins pump fear, my soul cries Truth:

“Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” –Psalm 139:7-11

His perfect love casting out my fear. His peace guarding my heart. His light casting out my darkness. His love covering my sin. His hand hemming me in, behind and before.

Even there. Even here. You are there- holding me, leading me.

{You are there.}

© January 29, 2013, Alyssa Bell.

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Independence Day.

We want our independence but we have no idea what we’re talking about. Or what we really want for that matter.

We want to move out. Get real jobs. We long for space, financial security. Yet we’re really just looking to move our dependence from our parents to another person: a partner, a spouse, a fiancé, a friend. We can’t stand the implications of independence. We can’t stand being alone.

I’m learning independence. I’m learning alone. Not aloneness as loneliness but as I’m okay-hanging-out-by-myself-ness.

New church- alone. Road trips- alone. Weddings/parties/shindigs- alone. Well, I have been counting my iPhone as my “plus one” these days.

Most of the time, it’s stifling, almost paralyzing. New places & people bringing out social anxiety that I never knew that I had. Overtaken by questions of who I am, how I act, what I say.

However, there have been times, especially lately, that this alone-ness has been subtly liberating. Strangely comfortable. No one to impress, no expectations to live up to, no mask to wear.  Just me. Little ole, always the same me.

I’m realizing that I’ve been living under this darkened cloud, this craving for a false self-fulfillment. Pretending that I want things I don’t, yearning after that which I don’t have.

As I write this, I realize that this is all one giant layers of hypocrisy piled ontop of one another. Heck, I am just one big heap of hypocrisy.

We were created for dependence. We are not self-sufficient.

We are needy. I am needy. I need Jesus.

So bad.

So good.

So much.

Whichever. Any and all of the above.

So, today I am thankful for my dependence. That I am fully know & somehow, in all that knowing, fully loved & lavished upon with grace after grace.

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