The Loneliness of Work

I miss the old school days. The days of ringing bells and passing friends in the hallways. The days of studying in the library at a table with two or three others pausing to discuss what we were learning every few minutes. I miss the days of sitting side by side in a classroom with my fellow students thinking, discussing, learning. All working together and going through that thing called school together.

You see, the classroom is a uniquely communal experience. It is full of many desks. It is made for many students. It is a place where groups of people go through the same things together. They learn together and discover new ideas together. It is a wonderfully together sort of place.

Thus far, my experience with full-time work has been rather lonely. You see, I’ve traded that desk-among-other-desks in the classroom for a single desk in an office. I’ve traded those walks across campus, stopping every so often to talk with someone or to say hello to a friend, for solitary drives across town. I miss the community.

Mind you, I have a couple of meetings each week and I look so forward to those. This year we hired two new people and it has been a blast working with them. I help organize and participate in a mid-week gathering of a few hundred people. I love that and I’ve come to look forward to it.

Even as wonderful and beautiful as marriage is, I’ve traded my home-filled-with-roommates for a home with one roommate. It is beautiful and lovely, yet work steals us from one another. We each spend more time alone in the house than we do together.

In school, it seemed that we were all working together toward the same thing. I remember evenings of translating Greek with two dear friends and afternoons reading in the library with friends. We were all students together. But I am the only one with my job. No other person on earth has the same position I have in the same organization. It is terribly lonely.

I am still learning this new pace of life. I am learning how to adjust to it. I am learning how to live well in it. I trying to learn how to work well, but how to also remain connected to people and love them well. God, give me grace.

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