The Loneliness of Transition
It’s been about six or seven months now since we said to each other, “Hey, let’s keep in touch!” I’m probably equally as much to blame, but I often wonder what happened to the phone. Is it broken? Did they take a vow of phone-silence? I barely even see them on Facebook anymore. Did they lose Internet service too?
One thing I never expected about going through transitions in my life is how lonely it can be.
I often feel like the Israelites just after the Exodus these days. I wander through the desert without a place to call home.
For me it started about a year and a half ago. My wife and I had questioned if we were in the right church for about three years before we finally left. It wasn’t a bad leaving. We still believe in the ministry of that church, and we left on good terms. It just wasn’t the right place of ministry for us.
But not being there on Sunday mornings may have caused people to forget about us. The phone stopped ringing as much as it once had.
Then, just about seven months ago, I was let go from my job of thirteen years. During the first day or two after that, messages and phone calls were passing at record pace. People wanted to know how things were going and expressed a strong desire to keep in touch with the utmost sincerity.
But just like with our church transition, within a few days the phone stopped ringing, and hasn’t rung since.
And once again, I am alone.
Part of me wonders how deep and sincere those relationships really were if they have so easily faded away. But I also blame myself for not being more intentional in reaching out. If these major transitions in my life recently have taught me anything, it’s that I can’t rely on someone else to help me feel connected. It’s something that I need to own and make happen.
I continue to navigate through the wilderness as I settle into new places of work and worship. Gradually, I’m forming relationships with new business partners and have been attending some small groups in the new church we’re attending now. We’re even planning to lead a small group in our home.
This time, I’m being intentional about making that extra call to see how things are going or dropping a note on a friend’s Facebook wall, because those relationships don’t just happen. Relationships develop because people invest in each other.
Things are slowly getting back to normal for us. I can see the Promised Land from here, and I’m excited to grow some new roots.
Have you ever felt alone through a transition in your life? If so, how did you connect with people and overcome that feeling?
Image by Tim Miller. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.