It’s the Loneliest Time of the Year… So What Are You Going to Do About It?

by Advent and Christmas, Self-Knowledge

Mary was “set apart” for a very specific mission.

Sometimes, I feel set apart, too.

You know, set apart from friends on a Friday night, watching and memorizing my favorite 90’s rom coms for… well, I’m sure I’ll need those quotes one day.

Or out to dinner with my couple-friends, clarifying to the waiter that it’ll “just be me” on the check—“set me apart, kind sir.”

Or in a conversation with a friend, sometimes I feel set apart when a friend isn’t quite pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down. Ugh. #SetApart

So often, I don’t want to be set apart. I assign a negative connotation to being “set apart” and translate being set apart to being “lonely.”

There’s part of me, though, that can imagine how Mary must have felt, to find out about her [intense] mission as a teenager. But everything I know about Mary suggests that she handled the pregnancy bombshell in a very healthy way—she pondered it in her heart, and went about living. Classy move, Mary, especially considering all that was to come.

My tendency is to dwell. Not healthy.

But when I’m done dwelling, and a little time has passed, I remember that the Lord never gives us a cross without a way to carry it.

Right now, God is calling me to be a little lonely. Ok, the call isn’t loneliness, but it’s to live on my own for a bit. But, if God has given me times of loneliness, he’s also given me specific tools to carry out my mission.

Sometimes, it’s tough. How do I go from dwelling on my loneliness to, well, not dwelling on my loneliness?

Three Ways To Overcome Loneliness During The Holidays

1. When you’re lonely, you are not alone.

Other people are lonely too. Look for just one other person you can reach out to right now, and do something active to cultivate your friendship with them.

Easy start: use the commercial breaks during the game or your next TV show to write a letter or email or even a text message to someone you haven’t heard from in a while.

2. Time is actually a gift.

You might have some extra time on your hands, and that time is actually a gift—use it.

Easy start: Rediscover things you love. For me, that’s writing, playing music, and drawing. And when I’m done writing, playing music, and/or drawing, sharing those things, even just with one other person, is key; it might speak to them, and it gives you a way to get outside your loneliness.

3. Tell someone you’re lonely.

So maybe you don’t have the energy to encourage someone else (suggestion 1) or the motivation to rediscover something you love (suggestion 2). Just speak the loneliness on your heart to a trusted friend.

Easy start: Call a friend. Tell them you’re lonely.

Loneliness is a bummer. I get it. But so did Mary. She was set apart for her mission. But she wasn’t alone. And we don’t have to be either. Onward and upward, you!

This guest post was contributed to Catholic-Link by Anna Brodarick of 5 Stones & St. Joseph Communications.

Photo credit: Chad Madden / unsplash

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