Sunday, July 27, 2008

On Loneliness

So, I (Marilyn) actually wrote this post 2 weeks ago, and hesitated to post it because I thought it sounded too melodramatic. But, Josh says I should post it, so here goes:

Josh left for his second day of teaching this morning at 8:30am. As I lay in bed trying to decide whether to go back to sleep or do something productive, I got the urge to read Genesis, starting, well, from the beginning.

There's something about Genesis that really gets to me. Maybe it's the thought of such monumental things happening to such small (groups of) people. Or maybe it's the idea that God would make Adam go through and name all the animals before bringing him Eve, the only being he could talk to and listen to. And then there's the fact that everything just keeps getting messed up, even if it started at perfection. As I read the first several chapters, I was struck by a sense of loneliness that seemed to hover over the narrative, like dew over the world's first grass.

I'm never sure where the loneliness is coming from: Adam and Eve? Cain? Noah? Maybe the Lord himself? Does God get lonely? yes and no...?

Since Josh and I have been moving around a bunch since last May, something about the loneliness in Genesis was resonating with me. Funny thing is, most of the time I don't realize that that's what I'm feeling. There have been tons of things to think about as we've dealt with all the changes we've been floating through: grad school, tuition, student loans, housing, visas, healthcare, income, thesis, career, family, community, food, cold, hot, name a few.

Underneath this mess of concerns that are pretty simple to take care of in the broad scheme of things, sits a little knot in my stomach that I've had a hard time untangling. And now, I'm pretty sure I know what it is: I feel like a very small, insignificant person in a very big, overwhelming place. And most of the people I care about (and who care about me) are very, very far away. Thus, I am lonely.

I guess this is where I stopped, because I felt stupid. It does sound a little melodramatic, doesn't it? But, I've been thinking about it a lot and I've decided that sometimes loneliness is a beautiful thing. I'm glad there are people in my life that I love so much it hurts to be apart from them.

And I'm proud of Josh and myself for being vulnerable to this sort of pain, even if we are moving around a lot. I guess we could just close in on ourselves and not bother making new friends because we know we're leaving soon. Instead, like the little fools that we are, we keep falling in love with new friends knowing we'll have to miss them in a short while.

Maybe this is a good time to post this because the Beijing Film Academy program I've been part of is now ending. We started some good friendships here, and hopefully we'll be able to keep in touch. But I'm a little sad that the Beijing we were getting to know for the past month is now dismantling, and as we move to our new apartment it will be yet another transition, and we'll have to make new friends all over again.

I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining. Josh and I are really grateful to have this opportunity, and excited about life here and the adventures we'll have over the next several months. Sometimes I just get a little mopey and sentimental is all. But you guys knew that about me already. :)


tamela said...

hey marilyn, thanks for sharing... i was encouraged by your insight that loneliness can actually be a blessing because you can rejoice that you have loved ones to miss. man, sorry you're having to go thru so many changes, i pray the lord richly blesses you in this new season. big hugs to you guys, love tam xx

Gary said...

i'm lonely too. let's start a club!

Bae0wolf said...

me too i agree with gary!

Amy said...

funny. we're in the most populated country and we feel lonely. hm.

thanks for sharing. =)