Sunday, May 25, 2014

All the lonely people

Back in 1993 I graduated from college and felt very lonely.  I completed college, and realized I did not want to be what I went to school for.  I was hired as a journalist, and I hated it.  I knew I was a good writer, but I got a serious bout of writers block.  I quit, and then for the rest of the year I felt depressed and lonely.

I felt lonely because I felt there was no one I could talk to.  My dad didn't want me to quit my job, mainly because he said I would get better with time and learn to like it.  I knew I would not get better, and not learn to like it.  I felt like I had taken a wrong path.  I spent many hours wondering why God had allowed me to take this journey.  I wondered how I was going to get out of it.

I couldn't help thinking of this recently as I attended two different Masses where the Priest talked about "all the lonely people."  They both began their sermons by singing the following lyrics by the Beatles:
All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?
The moral of both these sermons was this: if you believe in Jesus, you are never alone.  If you believe in the Lord, God, you are never alone.  This is essentially the message of John 14:15-21:
If you love me you will keep my commandments.
I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you for ever,
the Spirit of truth whom the world can never accept since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you.
I shall not leave you orphans; I shall come to you.
In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see that I live and you also will live.
On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.
 Whoever holds to my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me; and whoever loves me willbe loved by my Father, and I shall love him and reveal myself to him.
One priest said this is similar to those moments, as parents, that we hold the hands of our children.  Yet then there comes a time as parents you have to let go and allow your child to walk on his own and hope you taught well.  Usually, your children DO take steps on their own, and they do well.  This is how they learn to become independent.

Similarly, there are times when Jesus holds our hands, and then there are times when he lets go, allowing us a chance to walk on our own.  These will be the times when you feel lonely.  Yet those who believe will know that the Lord is right there all along.  We continue to pray for the Lord to reveal himself, to show us that he is still there.

It is in these moments we pray words, and we seek for our prayers to be answered.  Yet, for long periods of time, sometimes it seems, our prayers go unanswered.  Yet we continue to pray, because, deep down, we continue to believe; we continue to have faith.

And then, usually at unexpected moments, he shows us that he is there.  These are the moments that, as a parent holds the hands of his child once again, that God does the same for us.

Those of us who believe will have those moments when we feel His hand, once again, upon our shoulders.  Perhaps this will be a moment where the sun shines bright upon your shoulder, and you are hit with a revelation that you are with God; You are hit with the revelation that your prayer has already been answered; you are hit with the revelation that the Lord has been with you all along.

I had such a moment back in December of 1993.  My brother David encouraged me to visit him in Kentucky.  One evening he and his wife were gone, and I was lying on the floor with a journal in front of me.  A refreshing breeze wafted over me and my journal, ruffling the pages.  At the same time a ray of sun shined on me, and a shiver went up my spine.

That was one of those moments when the Lord grabbed me by the shoulder and held me, guiding me.  At that moment it occurred to me that I was going to be a respiratory therapist. The next day I called my mother, thinking she'd be angry with me for starting all over, but instead she was fully supportive.  That was when I realized God had talked to her about it too.

And it's not like we need the support of our parents to change courses in life, although, as most of us know, it surely helps.  It helps to know that you are not taking this journey alone; that you have those who support you.

Over time I realized that not only did God touch me in that moment when the sun shined upon me, but he was also guiding me all along.  He walked with me during all those asthma attacks. He walked with me through journalism school. He walked with me through advertising school. He walked with me when I was working for the Lake County Star.  He walked with me that year I felt lonely.

The skills I obtained during that time allow me to share the word with all those I meet, and all those who read the words I write.  So, while sometimes we feel as though our prayers are not being answered; that the Lord is not listening, chances are, our prayers have already been answered.