The word alone dictates feelings of lack and of fear. Lack of people, lack of those who understand, lack of someone who loves you for who you are, etc. Fear goes hand in hand with this word. There is a fear that no one will be able to empathize with what you’re going through. The thought of never having someone to be by your side through thick and thin is daunting. Being alone in the wilderness with no one to talk to forces you to wrestle with the demons within yourself.
Loneliness drives people to do anything to fill their perceived and real voids. Men and women hop from relationship to relationship, even the unhealthy ones just so they aren’t alone. We spend our time attached to our phones, social media, or in public places to avoid lack of interaction. Sometimes we go to extreme measures to seek those who just might understand. Many times, those same people end up being the ones that control and manipulate someone who they know is vulnerable. In the end, we end up more wounded than before.
While I’ve been in Canada (as of July) loneliness has been the feeling I’ve been accustomed to the most. It pervades my lifestyle. I’m always moving, traveling, changing people with whom I interact, and staying in many different places. To give an example, since February I’ve been to six different worksites across the province. Hopefully this will calm down somewhat and I’ll rotate between two sites every week, but still a lot of moving. Even being an TCK, I’m used to at least having someone close to me close by. Whether it’s a close friend or immediate family, someone was always there. Up here, they are much farther. If it’s in Canada, it’s Calgary, at least three hours away. The US, as you can imagine is much further with a couple of time zones.
I’ve struggled knowing every night the only person I come back to is myself. Never have I found myself very interesting. What I did find was I had demons to wrestle with, a recently ended long-term relationship, and I had to come to terms being starkly alone. It frustrated me. All I wanted was to be with people, and for good reason. I needed to be edified, needed their companionship, and wanted growth. I craved immediate satisfaction in having someone who understood me. Having none of that, there were only a few choices I could make. Apathy was a major danger for me, and the biggest battle I fought. I could distract myself endlessly. Another was completely changing who I was, so I was no different. That meant many things, of which none were acceptable. Lastly, I could remain myself and grow.
Growing is painful. Being the last choice, it was the last one I came to in my process. Facing being alone and being positive about it seem like contradictory choices. It is, however, what God has worked in me. Being upbeat about the whole thing has made it not only bearable, but good. I cannot fathom suffering alone while resenting it. Bitterness would seep into my bones.
I’ve come to enjoy the solitude. I know that this time is good for me to learn. To think. To write. To make the most of my interaction. To be who I am. I still don’t like it all the time. I get much more excited than normal to visit my friends. I still desire companionship. It’s a period of waiting, and there is nothing wrong with that. There are times and periods in one’s life that look like a hellish desert. The oasis is found when Christ is the sustenance that carries you through. To expound, laying your foundation on His truth will make or break you. When you’re alone looking out into the glittering universe, you wonder of your significance. Knowing God loves you gives you a place, because He made it for you. God did something very intentional so that no matter how alone we are, He is always in reach. He is always present, and loves His redeemed.
This has been my experience so far as I’ve walked the path of loneliness. I’m still processing it, so this is just reflective of my experience. Which leads me to the question: What has your experience been? How have you dealt with it? Maybe we can learn a few things from each other.