Alone

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If you had asked me a year ago how I would decide, if given one wish guaranteed to be granted, I would have immediately cured the world of loneliness. I have since retracted that statement. I used to think of loneliness as a miserable and hopeless feeling that kicks you when you’re down and only serves to feed the flame of your mistakes. I thought nothing good could ever come of loneliness. I have recently reconsidered. I tried to imagine a world without it, and it seemed strangely incomplete. I did not expect to think that. I realized that loneliness has enkindled some of my most fervent prayers. I would never take back the irreplaceable moments I’ve spent immersed in my deepest, most life-changing prayers. I’ve realized how loneliness reminds us to draw near to people, contribute to a community, depend on God, have a prayer life, and discover the beauty of humility. Loneliness is a strangely beautiful thing, but I probably would’ve laughed with cynicism if someone had told me so before now. If anyone had dared to convince me, of this opinion I’ve since stumbled upon, I would have thought, “Well, then you couldn’t possibly know what it feels like.” Instead, I have come to a sort of peaceful acceptance of this inevitable human emotion. It is part of the human experience, and no one is exempt. Suffering, imperfection, discomfort, confusion, pain, loneliness, anxiety, frustration, and shame–I’ve learned an inexhaustible amount of truth and beauty from experiencing those dreadfully unavoidable emotions; those are lessons I would not replace. Loneliness is beautiful, so long as you remember to retain peace and remember in all moments that you are a constant recipient of a love so divine that you need none other.

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