“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”- Isaiah 49:15-16
The Wild Garden of Solitude
Beloved, you are lonely. It is okay, I know. You want to be loved because somehow you know what love is, yet you fear that life has not reserved this wondrous gift for you.
How many hours have found you unknown? How many the days when the shadows grew long and no one watched and waited with you? Time fades as the leaf of the forest and you abide your aching, secret seclusions. Who can tell why the years have exiled you to the wild garden of your solitude?
Strange and Difficult Roads
Here you are, walking the narrow street; oh the strange roads you have travelled. There you are, a wandering sheep (Isaiah 53:6), in the rush of the madding crowd.
You grieve the memories of your earthly sojourns, your heart’s diary of half-remembered places, lost loves and missed connections. But why does the world never enter within your prison walls?
What is this body of death, if not a cage? (Romans 7:24) This life, is it but a cruel dream? What more is there left for such a one as myself? This, you often wonder. Clouds drift overhead. Time gathers in the corners of your eyes.
Myths of a Sleeping Heart
I know a woman so hungry for her soul’s Love, she dreamt someone had stolen her soul, or perhaps she never had one. I know a man who dreamt he left his body and found his soul’s Love beyond this world. And yet this woman was not unloved, only asleep. And this man woke up from dreaming, but truly he did not live.
These are the myths sung of the lonely of heart, how they echo throughout the ages. But beloved, don’t you know you are never alone in your Gethsemane?
The Broken Vessel
You are lonely. It is okay, I know. Have you considered this beloved? That vessels are hollow because they are made to be filled? And when the broken vessel empties itself, that which it empties is no longer contained.
You are the vessel and that which empties you must either free you or else fill you again. Hear this, you lonely widowed souls who pine for your bridegroom: was not the empty vessel used to multiply the widow’s oil? (2 Kings 4: 1-7). This is the joy of the soul, and this is the power of the soul’s Love.
The Shrine of Loneliness
You say that you will abandon your search for fellowship. You will make a shrine of your prison and worship solitude as your god. In resignation you have declared in your dark and silent hours: “Loneliness is the way.”
Then again you ask: Why is life so unjust, that I should ever have tasted this bitter cup of sorrow? Is there any who shall meet my soul’s need? Such is the cry for deliverance, the outcast’s plea to divine mercy.
And here is Love’s answer to the cry and the plea: Who is servant of the inner court of the soul if loneliness is not servant? For is it not loneliness that does justice to the power of Love? And who, but loneliness, is the soul’s handmaiden, for is it not loneliness that prepares the soul in service of Love?
Do not be fooled beloveds; loneliness is not the way. Loneliness is how the way becomes clear.
The Abyss and the Wilderness
But what of the pain and strife of a lonely life?
Where there are no springs of companionship and tender solicitude, the mind grows barren, a wilderness for wild jackals and hungry ravens. They pick out the eyes of the sleepers at night, leave them blind to the light of the morning sun. And who can walk for long in darkness without stumbling or fear of ghosts?
The cup of communion is too long empty, so the thirsty grow faint and see visions of their own demise. But all their fearful dreaming is not sound.
Listen well beloved; you were not made to walk in darkness alone or forever. It is true that in reclusion there is a form of power, but this power is not greater than the power of the soul’s Love.
It is true also that there is a law of darkness, but this law is passing away. The soul’s Love will never pass away.
What you must know when you are at the edge of the abyss, yea, even when you find yourself in its depths, is this: there is not darkness enough in heaven or earth to fill the cup of your soul’s Love.
When you communion with God, your soul is the cup and God is Love. Where there is Love, there is light. The darkness can never overcome this light (John 1:5).
Even in the dark night of your soul, you are not hidden from Him. His eyes are in every place (Proverbs 15: 3), and even in the abyss, He is with you (Psalms 139:7-10).
And know this also; that in the eyes of Love, the abyss too is a vessel and subject to the law.
A Home for the Wounded Heart
You have said in your heavy-hearted loneliness that you do not have a home. “I am a stranger in this world,” you lament. “I am forsaken. I belong to no one.” This is your shame and your bewilderment.
Do you not yet see my beloved? It is because you belong so deeply to the One that you do not belong to any. And if you belong to the One, you belong to all, for He is all in all (Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:17).
Beloved, you seek your home in the chamber of your soul and wonder why you feel so empty. Or, you ask your soul to make its home in the chamber of another’s soul, another who is just like you. Thus, you make alluring prisons out of earthly love.
Do you not know that your soul is not your home? Likewise, the soul of another is not your home. Only the soul’s Love is your home.
And Love calls and calls you to this glorious home that belongs only to you, that cannot belong to another; such is your special place in the capacious heart of God. Truly, He makes a home for all the lonely of this world (Psalms 68:6).
The Shepherd’s Promise
Beloveds, you are lonely. It is okay, I know. But you do not need to be any longer. Beloveds, you are overcoming and you have overcome. The cup of loneliness will pass from you. You will drink from the sweet cup of communion and pass the cup to the desolate.
The age of the stranger and the orphan is coming to an end. The lovelorn, the reject and the despised will be gathered in His arms. The lost sheep will be found. This is what the Good Shepherd promises (Luke 15: 1-7).
The prison cell of the ages cannot keep you from the divine Love that will find you, that has found you even now. Your souls will dwell in unity, and those who are free will be your faithful companions in this life and forever.
Now the way becomes clear.