Hope :: Surrounded, Yet Alone

Boston Snowscape taken from my apartment window with an iPhone 7. Winter 2023.
You can listen here!

You may be wondering why I’ve chosen yet another snowscape for a blog post, especially one seemingly not to do with winter. It’s a very good question, but I actually have several reasons.

First, I love looking at snow. Pictures of snow, being surrounded by snow while sitting in a warm apartment… I LOVE looking at snow.

Second, going off that first reason, I love looking out at snow, but I hate being out in the snow. This can keep me isolated and discourage me from going out and doing things in the outside world.

Third, though I love looking at the snow, it always gives me this feeling of… disjointedness and loneliness. Staring at the snow is really a solitary activity.

So what does all of this have to do with a blog post about hope?

I’ve written about surrounding yourself with people before. I think it’s an important thing to do and I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly surrounded by human beings. That isn’t necessarily a good thing, though.

Why?

I may be surrounded by people often, but I’m not always connected with them. At work, there are a few coworkers I speak to, but usually, I’m simply overwhelmed with guests. I jump at radio calls (I don’t want customers to wait too long, and if a coworker doesn’t respond to the call right away, I will); this can lead to resentment. And I do it to myself!

I have neighbors, but I’ve only done a head nod in passing to a few of them; they don’t really want to talk.

This past week, I got a rejection for an internship. When I got the email, I was irritated (they didn’t even give me an interview! Just told me I didn’t have the skills or background they’re looking for), but I moved on. I pushed it to the back of my mind and figured it wasn’t God’s plans for me.

Then I spent several days becoming progressively irritated with everyone around me. The trains were down and I was mad. I had to walk and I was mad. I got elbowed and shoved on the shuttle and I was mad. Coworkers refused to answer calls because they didn’t feel like it, and I was mad. Everything was ticking me off!

Thankfully, my friend and coworker could see there was something going on and he told me to go ahead and work in the back room (away from all human beings except coworkers). I got to hide away in the cooler for a bit and actually think.

Then my friend asked me, “So what’s really going on?” Out came the truth about the internship and I was flaming mad once again. But, see, I wasn’t really MAD about the internship – I was hurt. It’s easier to let anger win the day than to admit to a vulnerability like hurt.

I felt better once I admitted what was going on. Not great, but better.

The next morning, I went to church and a fellow attender asked me, “How are you doing?” I gave my standard, “I’m okay.” She looked me dead in the eye and said, “Are you really?”

I tell you, friend, I broke down. My lip started trembling, my eyes filled up with tears, and I said, “No… I’m not okay!”

We spent some time chatting, me crying, her praying for me. It was a therapeutic God moment.

Why am I telling you this?

Because having people in our lives that we actually interact with is important! I told you a few months ago that relying on people is a double-edged sword. I still stand by that, because you can’t expect one person to carry the entire weight of your life for you. For me, that’s where God comes in. He CAN carry the weight.

But we still need people! We can’t expect one person to carry the burden for us, but we should have a circle of people we can rely on to be there for us when life knocks us down. Going to friends and loved ones when bad things happen is how we walk through this thing called life.

People are in our lives for a reason – sometimes it’s simply to be there with us in silence. Sometimes they’re there to pray for us. Sometimes they’re in our lives to give us advice and wisdom.

But, friend, WE CANNOT WALK THIS LIFE ALONE!

I’ve tried it. It never works.

We can be surrounded by a million people, but if we build our walls up so high no one can scale it and make it with tungsten so no one can penetrate it, we’re going to walk this life alone. It’s easy to fall into that trap. Rejection, hurt, abandonment, bullying, alienation… These and so many other things can lead us to close ourselves off and shut everyone out.

However, loneliness can do more damage than anything else. Too often, we feel completely isolated and alone and like no one cares and we don’t matter.

Those are lies! You DO matter. So very much.

I’m glad you’re here and I pray you begin lowering those walls. Please, feel free to message me if you feel comfortable. You are not alone. Not anymore.

Brittany Stonestreet signature with dove
Brittany Stonestreet signature with dove

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