I’ve spent a portion of my life living in small rural communities and so have gotten used to being “alone” and actually quite like it. Is this partly due to my selfish desire to be able to do what ever I want? Maybe. Is it because I’m comfortable with myself? Maybe. Maybe I’m just becoming a social pariah…
The point is that as a single I can choose to be alone if I want to.
Is alone the same as lonely?
Language has created the word “loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created “solitude” to express the glory of being alone. (Paul Tillich)
Being alone does not necessarily mean that you will be lonely. One can be lonely in the midst of a crowd. One can glory in being alone. I think this is an important distinction. My non-single friend once said to me that she felt so lonely. I was shocked–how can she mean she was lonely? She had a family around her all the time!
OK–so anybody can feel lonely, not just those who are single, and being alone doesn’t mean you have to feel lonely. Now, as Christians, the question is: are we ever really truly alone? Moses said to Israel in Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or or terrified … for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Jesus tells us in John 10:29 that “no one can snatch them (us) out of my Father’s hand.” If we are sitting in God’s hand, not only is that not alone but He’s pretty darn close to us!
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.
Perhaps when we are feeling lonely the best thing to do is to cry out to God. He is there and He loves us so much. One of my favorite hymns is In the Garden by C. Austin Miles, which says “I come to the garden alone … And He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.” Perhaps the key to being in solitude rather than lonely is to talk to God and keep Him in the conversation. He wants us to get to know him. He wants communion with us!