Thursday, August 31, 2006
"I vant to be alone." Greta Garbo
After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone...
I like to be alone. I’ve always liked it. I can remember as a child my sister and I shared a room. That, I did not like. However, in a stroke of genius; my parents got us bunk beds. My dad hung shelves up high by my upper bunk and put a clock and a reading lamp there. Oh my gosh; that was bliss. It was my own little space in the world, my sanctuary. It was as close to alone as I could get and I loved it.
I still love to be alone. People aren’t comfortable with the idea of being by yourself. They want to get together so you don’t have to be alone. But what if being alone is just exactly what you want?
Jesus himself set the example that alone wasn’t bad. He intentionally withdrew from the crowd that followed him and from the disciples to find time by himself. I figure, if it’s good enough for him...
Of course, Jesus’ example of aloneness was one of meditation, fasting and prayer. And truthfully, I am much more likely to engage in all of those if I’m by myself and free of distractions.
But alone is also the way I decompress. It’s when I sort out whatever needs sorting, I rest my mind. I study what needs studying. I watch Doris Day movies. I nap. I cook, clean, shop, sing, dance, write.
Sometimes alone is when I just sit until all the thoughts drain out of my mind and calm falls down into my spirit.
I’ll be the first to admit that I can easily take alone to recluse proportions. I’ll even admit that while I recognize that this is considered a bad thing; I’m not sure I wouldn’t be a recluse if I could.
Yeah, I know. We need one another. I know this. And I do need my friends and family. I need my work and my church and I even need the strangers that are the surprise smiles and laughter when I’m pursuing aloneness.
I need to give myself away and I need to receive from other people.
I’m not arguing any of that.
I know I need balance and sometimes those of you closest to me have to lovingly apply a crow bar to me to see that I get it.
But just like I need togetherness, you need aloneness.
Don’t let the hustle and bustle of a world that’s spinning too fast make you dizzy. Don’t lose yourself in the crowd.
Every once in a while, dismiss them and go up on a mountainside (or to a Starbuck’s or your living room) by yourself to pray...
Or to dance or laugh or sing or read or write or watch Doris Day movies.
Me and Jesus recommend it.
P.S. Don’t worry, the world will still be spinning when you are done being alone. Darn it.