And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch.’ And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’Mark 14:32-36
There is a sense of purpose that only comes out of deep loneliness. There is a deep loneliness that exists when walking in steps of purpose.
Jesus’ ministry was bookended by alone time. After his anointing, he was led into the garden to be tempted and right before his death, was in Gethsemane to pray. These moments are more than time alone, (which for introverts is joy and for general humans useful). These were lonely moments. These are times when he knew only he could fulfill the specific task at hand. No one else would fully understand. He was the sole person who had this particular calling. No one else had this path. While he may have community by his side, it was he who would die, he who would rise, he who would change the world. It’s in this loneliness, that the existence and promise of the Father and the Holy Spirit are life lines.
I have dreaded loneliness by whole life, and still do, especially in these times. Even in my grandma’s crowded apartment during holiday meals, I felt alone. Even in the most intimate and fun hangs with best friends, this fog of loneliness eventually finds me. And if we are honest, it finds each of us if we dare pause long enough to not find a quick cover or distraction. In loneliness, I feel like I’m the only one seeing the world the way I’m seeing it right now. It feels like I’m a character misplaced in a world not my own. I am hit by the wave of the world’s ache and my feet are stuck in the ground so I cannot run, cannot hide. These are not pleasant, but they are expansive revelations that each of our lives has a calling and path no one on earth can fully comprehend. They may enter in and collaborate with you. There might even be moments of such deep alignment, you know those moments when you meet someone and think OH YOU GET IT, that you feel so connect. And hopefully on this track of life, there are other runners by your side and fans cheering you on. However, your purpose is yours and yours alone. As each of us fulfills our own purpose, together we’d change the world.
So in your loneliness, in your alone time, I hope along with the ache you feel the immense truth that you matter, and only you can do what is set out for you. God is with you. The Holy Spirit lead you. Jesus went before you.