Feb 10, 2007

Loneliness is a gift!

Due to the nature of my job that requires me to travel and do things alone, I was intensively trained for the past 5 months to cope with loneliness. Today, when I looked back, I thank the Lord for the grace, strength and courage He has given me so far, which helped me through the darkest moments of loneliness. And at this very moment I can stand up and testify that -- loneliness is a gift from God.

I used to hate being alone. Each time I was alone, I tend to desperately look for someone to accompany me, it didn't matter who that person is - a guy or a gal; I also had impure thoughts; I watched whatever programme that comes on TV just to kill time, or wasting time online by popping into all kinds of chatrooms. Most of the time I longed for someone... for his touch, his embrace, his presence that would keep me secure... I wanted to feel somebody's love.

Today, I am no longer the same as I grow rooted in the Lord.

When a Catholic friend complained to me, that he was lonely and he needed someone special to be there, I do understand how he must have felt. That emptiness inside that consumes the whole being... that pain, that longing that are unbearable. But they can be filled... with love not from someone else, but from the Source of Love, which is Love itself.

While I was searching online for a photo about loneliness for another post which I was planning to write on, I found this short excerpt on The Loneliness of the Christian.

The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone.


It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else.

- by A. W. Tozer

It accurately described how I felt then. And because I felt so lonely that I couldn't stand anymore, I started turning to the Lord for companionship and love. Eventually, I become so attached to Him and being alone has become something I look forward to. In fact, I treasure those moments when I just have to sit or kneel in front of a Crucifix or Christ's image and talk to Him straight... like a friend but invisible. As a result of the Conversation, I found peace in my heart, joy, and I feel that I'm so much loved... by Someone so great and who deserves all my love.

When I travel alone, I would bring one book by a Christian writer or anything having to do with the Faith, my darling Bible and the prayer book I always use. I did not have that hungry feeling of loneliness. All I know was that my heart pounded real hard when the departures and arrivals of flights were being announced. My only fear is that I might miss the flight!

If you can come to the realization that loneliness is not scary at all, but is instead an opportunity to have an intimate relationship with God, then you would also look forward to every moment where you can be totally alone -- then be assured that you are going after something that is more precious than silver or gold, which He and He alone can give.

May you discover the beauty of loneliness.

Feb 3, 2007

My Vocation Story - The Confusions

For the past 2 weeks, I met someone online who's desperately looking for a soul mate. After some chats with me, he concluded that I am his answered prayer. I'm a person who couldn't care less about relationships as such, and besides, I clearly know that my heart's desire is religious life.

I was stressing on discovering my religious vocation so much that, he told me - perhaps I'm not called to religious life due to many reasons, and one of them is that God met the two of us. His words were so convincing... as if I've made a mistake by believing all these while that I'm called to become a nun; he gave me 'signs' that the two of us were meant for each other.

I didn't know what actually happened to me that night. Upon listening to what he has said, I felt as if the whole world has tumbled down on me. My faith almost shattered. My hope in the Lord dwindled. For the past 3 days, I was in a total confusion and depression. Religious life really means something to me! I was trying my best to listen to Lord for an answer.

Today, however, a thought suddenly struck me.

Why did I allow myself to give in to him, and allowing the Evil One to take control of me? Making me believe that from the beginning till now, God has never intended me to offer my life for His service, and causing me so much disappointment and sadness for the past 3 days. This experience was horrible, as if I was totally cut off from God; as if He has decided to kick me out of His Kingdom; as if He has fooled with my heart.

I looked back at the time when I received affirmation that my vocation was not marriage. All I could remember was joy, joy and joy everlasting! Compare that with what happened recently, I realized that this was just another way for the Evil One to create havoc in my life. How could it be possible that, if marriage is my vocation, I was feeling so down? Why is that the more I think about it, the more my heart longs for Him? From there, I also realized that it is not a human companion that I look for, I'm actually searching for the presence of Christ in the people I meet... I'm hoping that that person can temporarily 'represent' Christ -- to hold me in His arms, to kiss and affirm me of His love, holding my hand and walking with me, protecting me from all harm -- that sense of security, belonging and great love I have been longing for when I fell in love with Him. That is why it is impossible for me to have an intimate relationship, because all I long for is Him alone. It won't be fair for any guy whom I would be seeing, as they are not the ones I'm in love with.

Back to my vocation. I'm even more sure now, that I'm not called to marriage. My willingness (and also many others) to reach out to others is a result of my (our) relationship with God, a relationship that no one in this whole wide world can replace.

Please pray for me and for those who are discerning religious life or consecrated virginity. Feel free to visit Holy Vocations Blog, a blog co-authored by those who are seriously discerning priesthood and religious life; and say a prayer for all of us there. Thank you!