Sunday, November 24, 2013

Filling the void


    Having recently fallen in and out of love I've thought a lot about that void.  You know, the void inside each human heart.  It's not something that we're always conscious of but I am confident we are all made with the same hole.  I know that before I fell in love I was barely aware of its existence.  I mean, I occasionally knew I was lonely...usually on holidays or when I went to weddings alone.  Or when someone asked me why I wasn't married yet.  Or when I had to rake the lawn by myself.  

     Vaguely I was aware of a longing.  I had had a boyfriend before that I thought I liked.  I mean, as far as I could tell.  But when it ended I was only sad for a day or two and more because I missed the attention (though honestly at the time I had no idea what love was and thought I was feeling much more than I was).  But really, there was no void, like a part of me was missing.  

     I had read of people who had unsuccessfully tried to fill it with money, power, lust or pleasure.  I had read of the enslaving power of addictions, drugs, alcohol, sex.  Never having experienced this need I had very little empathy and no understanding of people who went down this road.

    Long before I knew our relationship wouldn't work out, I was overwhelmed by the emptiness I felt inside.  Just being separated left me feeling that way.  My life revolved around it.  Suddenly, this void within me that had barely existed a year ago filled my every thought, word and action.  I couldn't begin to look to the future.  I couldn't make permanent decisions.  I couldn't commit to trips or events.  And I lost all desire to be with the people who did fill my life.

    There were many names I called it: detachment, loneliness, pain, aridity, desolation; but what it came down to was that I had a huge emptiness within me that I had never felt before.  And until that person came into my life and stretched that void out, I had never sensed that there needed to be someone there.  I spent a year asking God to distract me from my sorrow, to take away the pain or to return this person into my life.  I spent a year in confusion, waiting for God to act, ready to hope with the least little urging.  As many times as I said, "Lord I trust in you," I cried in pain.  

    Then everything ended with a resounding bang.  I was left holding this big, empty void inside, knowing with certitude that it would never be filled by the person who made me aware of it and quite forgetting that He was waiting patiently, the One who created it.  Winds blew, thunder crashed, rain fell and all within me clung to the raft of knowing God was there but not feeling God was there.  I have never felt so alone.

    But God is good.  And He allows things like this for His unseen purposes.  I have learned so much from this journey and count on His goodness to discover so much more.  I realize now that though I was not cognizant of this void, it was always present and until I came on this adventure I was not aware that in approaching relationships I was looking at each man as a potential person to fill this space and give me what I wanted: make me feel beautiful, loved, desired, cherished, wanted.  

   And this is impossible.  Because we each of us have a void that only Christ can fill.  When you come into a relationship, whether it be a friendship or a marriage, you cannot consider someone based solely on how they fulfill your needs.  You will never find someone who can do that.  Once you place that person in the void you will once again find yourself lonely, needing something more and being disappointed.  

    Healthy relationships are three legged stools.  If God is not the glue holding you together, if He is not the third leg holding you up, if he is not filling the voids within our human hearts, then we will spend the rest of our lives searching...and not finding...what matters most to us: true love.

"To understand its power, one must realize that love does not mean to have, to own, to possess; but to be had, to be owned, to be possessed. It is not the using of another for the sake of self, but the giving of self in order to help another. For one who lives in isolation, love becomes selfishness."  ~Fulton Sheen On Love

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