Everyone spends part of their lives alone. Even in the midst of the busiest cities, even when surrounded by people, we can be alone.
Starting a job where I work out of our home and travel, I’ve been spending more time alone. It’s different. It’s not that I have much to complain about – it’s a good job and my spouse is living and living with me, but it’s given me more alone time to think about being alone.
I know that part of it is simply personality – that some people are more comfortable alone and some seem never comfortable alone. Some of the times I’ve felt most alone:
- When I was quite ill and had surgery – even with the interruptions of medical staff and people visiting. The pain and counting ceiling tiles in the middle of the night lets you know you’re alone in this.
- After the death of a friend when the whole world kept moving on.
- When we’ve moved or started over in a new community.
- When I made a bad decision or said the wrong thing.
This past week I was sitting on a beautiful white sand beach – alone. While wishing I had my wife to share the ocean and weather with me, it hit me that we are all going to spend time alone. There are things we simply can’t change in our being alone, so how about looking for what makes us feel alive?
I asked people to react to – when do you feel most alone, when do you feel most alive. Interestingly, people focused more on the most alive. Some samples:
- I feel most alive when I take the time to be with Him, to read the Word and to truly listen to what He is telling me. God loves me, He loves us all unconditionally, no other human can provide such love and support.
- I feel most alive when I’m totally out of my realm or at the end of myself and know I must depend on God (reflecting on a mission trip to Mexico when she felt exhausted and exhilarated at the same time).
- I feel most alive when I’m with children and youth, their energy energizes me.
- I feel most alive after I take a risk!
- Alive = Purposefulness
It doesn’t change that our kids or grandkids will leave and we are left in the quiet. It doesn’t change that people will die and leave us. It doesn’t change that at times we will feel directionless. It doesn’t change our being alone. But we can try to focus on what makes us feel most alive.
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.