Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Living in the Contradiction of Alone

Four years ago I became a stay-at-home-Mom-with-kids-at-school-all-day. And for the first time since pregnancy I remembered what it was like to be alone.

Once the hustle and bustle of getting kids off to school and through the car pool line was done I breathed in the silence and celebrated the fact that I could now have a complete thought in my head.

It was not easy at first, actually. I struggled those first few weeks (or maybe even months) with this new found aloneness. I was used to having a toddler partner accompany me to errands and to enjoy lunch dates with.

Alone became such a contradiction — something I desired, but despised. And I wondered why I wasn't very good at it?

I have since realized that alone is a comfortable place when one is comfortable with themselves. So the past four years have been a training ground for me to make peace with the silence and relish in the freedom of deciding my own day.

But there is another side to alone. One far more isolating and sinister.

I have been trapped in the snares of alone and the lies it breeds.

Lies that convince you everyone else is having a grand time without you. Deceitful tales that have you thinking you are the only one who has ever struggled, doubted, or been afraid.

In the silence of alone your thoughts take advantage of their audience with you and sweep you away to write stories that lead you to darkness.

You aren't alone. That is the point, after all.

If you have ever been brave enough to share your story you soon see how connected we all are. How easy it is to find an empathetic soul in this world who knows just where you are or where you have been.

I remember a time when I fell for the lie that I was the only one. And Truth slipped into my heart from a pastor's lips reminding me there was One Man who experienced it all. Who knew my pain. Who experienced the array of feelings I had felt.

And comfort rained down on me that day.

Alone doesn't thrive in community. But you must be willing to risk and share the deepest parts of you. Because that is where you will find comfort in being known. That is where you will meet others who understand.

We all live in the contradiction of alone — where there is beauty in the quiet and rest for the weary. Where being alone can be a healthy lesson in being content hanging out with yourself.

But alone can also become an escape, an excuse to live like an island. And without the input of others, the harder it is to discern the lies from the truth.
"Islands are great to visit. But I have found we aren't meant to live apart."  
Christa Wells, "More Than I Am"
It's good to live in the balance knowing that taking time to be alone is a necessary choice sometimes, but the gift of friendship and community are ready and waiting for you when you want it.

So you never have to feel alone.

Linking with:

Holley Gerth (today's Coffee for Your Heart)

Jennifer at:

And Rebekah at:
A Soft Gentle Voice


Debbie G said...

I love what you've had to say on this topic. Especially the last sentence to sum it up - "It's good to live in the balance knowing that taking time to be alone is a necessary choice sometimes, but the gift of friendship and community are ready and waiting for you when you want it." So true! My One Word this year is BALANCE and I love when God sneaks it into my everyday life in some small way. And today He used you! Thank you!

Becky @ said...

Thank you so much for your encouraging comment on my post about the guilt in grief and for allowing me a glimpse into your story of loss and redemption, too. And your words here are also honest and vulnerable, a sure community builder for women who feel alone, but truly aren't. :)
Blessings to you,

Beatriz Magana said...

OMGoodness! Your post helped me more than you know. You are right - loneliness is the lie that opens the door to stories of darkness! My childhood might have been a little more rough than others, but very normal. My loneliness, though, had me convinced that I had the worst upbringing. Lately, I have been thinking and being brutally honest with myself of my childhood, and I am free to declare that it was not all that bad! I made bad choices that I decided to blame others for, and believed the enemy when it told me to think I had it bad. And my loneliness…I just didn’t know that the Lord was with me all along! Thank you for your thoughts today, really. It has helped!

~Karrilee~ from Abiding Love, Abounding Grace said...

"Alone doesn't thrive in community."

Amen! I love this! I only have one - but I too remember the freedom and dread of those first quiet empty house days spent alone! (I soon was able to see them as quite glorious too!) Thankful to be Telling His Story and sharing a little Coffee with you this morning (over at both link ups today as well!)

Unknown said...

I can't thank you all enough for your kind comments. What an encouragement! Thankful my sharing connected with each of you in a special way!


Shelly Miller said...

Alone truly is a contradiction, isn't it? Love that you pointed that out. Vulnerability is a great tool to diminish the loneliness of being alone, the minute you share the truth about what you are feeling, empathy is allowed to do her work in healing. You've made me think.

Chick Flick Diva said...

WELL SAID! Thank you for sharing your heart with us and keeping it real. I am glad you are part of this group of encouragers. So glad we had coffee together today.

Amy said...

I have a friend who has a way of saying something that I already know, but haven't really thought about. I love the way she challenges my thinking, helping me to grow. Your post leaves me feeling as if I've been with her today :-)

Thank you for sharing in such a way to provoke my mind and my heart while helping me see the lies! My friend and I are all about uncovering some lies!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder that we’re not alone! So glad you linked up with Coffee for Your Heart this week! XO

Rebekah Hughes said...

It is a wrestle. I rarely experience it and at times crave it. Thank you for sharing the real need to be alone and to be in community. We are not islands!

Thank you for linking up!

Nikki T said...

Hi, I'm stopping by from the (in)couraging writers group. Both my kids have just started school full time, and I too find myself in this same scenario and sometimes struggle through. Struggling through the what comes next phase. Thanks for this post. Looking forward to reading more.

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