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When I was a child, I thought that to be brave was to go in my room and night, and actually look under my bed to see if there were monsters there.

When I was a teen, I thought that to be brave was walking home alone, in the quiet dark, after a night of babysitting.

When I was a young adult, I thought that to be brave was to stay home alone when my hubby went out of town.

Brave has many faces, but on each face a fear of something, known or unknown, is written. The fears of childhood are the foundation for the fears of the rest of our lives. If I re-read my own expressions of what it was to be brave when I was younger, they are all centered on two fears; fear of the dark, and fear of being alone.

I believe that they are universal fears, I believe they are innate fears. I believe the
two fears are really one fear, for to be afraid of the dark is always diminished by
being in the presence of another.

From when we are born, we experience times alone. From our earliest beginnings in our mother’s womb, we experience dark. Yet those two fears go with us, and in some, intensify as we get older.

There is something about nighttime that can cause doubts, discomfort and fears to arise more easily. Add to that being alone, and the night can seem endless and hopeless.

For a child, being taken to bed, being tucked in, being reassured by a loving person that they are safe and that the nighttime will not last forever, can lessen their fear of the dark. If that does not work, having someone to accompany them in the dark, until they fall off to sleep will eliminate any further cries of fear.

For myself, as an adult, I hear far fewer noises, I sleep far easier, when hubby is in the house with me. His presence assures me that I am not alone, and the dark no longer has power over me.

If we are to be brave, we need to understand that the presence of another can be the light that takes away our fear of the dark, because their presence itself is like a light.

God’s message to us all in Isaiah 42:16 is “I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Whenever we think that we are alone, we need to remember that the One who never breaks His promises to us, is with us. Him in our lives means we are never fully alone, and the darkness is eliminated by the light of his presence.

Plato said, “we can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” The light of the world has come to illuminate our steps, he is like that parent by the bed of a fearful child, the friend walking you home in the dark, the person on the other side of the bed (snoring like a band saw), but He never leaves those who choose to brave and trust the presence of his light.

“Fear is the path to the dark side.”
Yoda



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best-of-week-logo

It is the day after the day that celebrates love, and when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day we are either awakening on one side of the bed, or the other.

The sun has risen again, and a new day has begun, no matter what yesterday looked like, it is history. Intriguingly enough, the most viewed post of this week was one word, and not a word that most would list as describing the day of love. The post titled, alone was the number one, but don’t think it is a downer, or pathetic, or fatalistic. Quite the contrary!

Also this week :

Quiet Rest
(how a sick day can become a sabbath in disguise)

More Than Just Cake
(we need more than cake … we need icing too)

Midlife
(midlife is not just about looking back, but also looking forward)

Valentines Day
(love, it means more than we think)

Blessings to you this day,
Carole

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b2783f508acbb1ad93f095379ee682e2Alone is a word, it is a state of being.

It is most commonly understood as being without anyone, but alone can be experienced, felt in a crowd of thousands. Alone is more a state of one’s mind, one’s heart, than the absence of others.

At this point in my life to be alone in my house is pure delight! And a rare one too. At the same time, for me to be alone in a public place is also a delight … not a soul asking anything of me, just time for myself and my own thoughts.

But, often, alone is synonymous for lonely, a sense, awareness or knowledge of an absence of something or someone.

I remember, as a young girl, my grandmother adjusting to the absence of her husband, after losing his battle with cancer. She was lonely, alone. Even many years later, near the end of her own earthly life, she would say that she never felt more alone than when she would come home to an empty house.

Ever felt alone? Or, for the male among us, ever thought you were alone (there is a great debate in our house that the females ‘feel’ while the males ‘think’ … let me tell you, there are many examples of the males in our household not thinking … just sayin’).

We have all experienced the sadness of alone. We have all experienced the absence, the void, the sense that something is missing, absent, gone.

But, even when the loneliness of being alone is felt right down to the core of our being, we are never truly alone.

There is one “who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

“God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).

Even when it seems as though we are alone, we are never truly alone.

(an interesting story behind this song can be read at The Huffington Post)

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Today is the end, and tomorrow the beginning of a calendar year.

If I were to make one New Years Resolution that I need to follow through with, it would be to awaken EVERY day viewing it (that day) as a brand new start.

Last week I got a head start on resolution-type promises. I attacked areas I could improve in my marriage, as a parent, and tried really hard to put my goals on the page that I might have with regards to my walk with God. Today is the easiest list to write, but maybe the most difficult to get around to actually completing … the goals I have for my own life.

So, here they are, my goals for my own Earthly existence for 2013:images-4

  1. Finish editing my book – Well I thought that it would be completed by the end of summer, but it is so far not done. I need to finish it this year … for me, and then I will see what I want to do with it after that.
  2. Continue with weight loss – Last June I saw the picture and was sickened by the image staring back at me. That photo brought me to tears also brought me to an awareness of my need to lose the weight that has been hindering living fully, and I must continue in this downward direction.
  3. Increase physical activity – This has been the most difficult part of trying to improve my overall health. I know that weight would drop faster, and more consistently if I was more active. Surely I can make time for three walks a week to start.
  4. Read one book each month – Another goal that means I need to ‘make time’ for something.
  5. Think before I speak – Is there any more that needs to be said about this? I think not!
  6. Call my parents more regularly – This is one thing I need to do, for them and for me. I will aim for every two weeks …
  7. Stop procrastinating – This one really applies to all of my goals for 2013! In all things in my life, from finishing my book to responding to phone calls, I need to just get it done.
  8. Take more time for girlfriends – This one does not come naturally for me, but it is one that I know I benefit from when I do it, and it feeds my heart and soul so greatly.
  9. Get away for a writing weekend – Just me, my laptop, a place to walk, and time to pray …
  10. Dream – I need longer term goals to plan for and dream about, not just surviving, but aiming for more out of life, this I need.

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Why does a couple need to get away, alone? In this day and age, it is not like parents have to share their bedrooms, their beds with their children (well, except maybe for some parents of toddlers and preschoolers). We have locks on our bedroom doors, homes of great comfort, and vehicles that can get us away for a few hours at any time … any time that we are both free!

Hubby and I stole a few hours to ourselves this past weekend. He had the entire weekend booked off. Our Chinese students were planning to spend the weekend with relatives in another city, our daughter had plans to have a sleep over with a friend, and hubby was hot on a trail to find a place for our son to go.

After drop offs, errands and appointments we finally fell into our seats at the Greek restaurant we agreed to meet at for a nice, quiet dinner … for two.

And that is pretty much the only detail of our time away together that I am planning to share!

So, why does a couple need to get away, alone?

After this recent brief time away, I can answer it clearly and concisely … intimacy.

In the day to day of life with kids, pets, jobs and so many other responsibilities, survival mode is the one we stay in most of the time. Our conversations are about schedules and driving and issues related to everything but our relationship with each other. Our physical intimacy boils down to a quick kiss on the cheek and need meeting. Our ability to love the other with adoration, respect and desire is hindered by bills, fatigue and interruptions.

Basically we forget why we got together in the first place, while we are in a relationship that can begin to look more robotic than romantic.

After a few hours alone together, our conversations become more deep, more personal, more intimate. We are free to venture into areas such as dreams and fears. We are free to be just one couple, not parents, employees, bill payers, laundry doers, kid drivers, football coaches … just ONE couple.

And in having the opportunity to be alone reminds us of the intimate oneness that was all part of the plan from the beginning, that the two would become one. Not one parent unit, not one property management, social committee, corporation, but one couple.

To miss out on this opportunity of intimate oneness would be a great loss.

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I have this desire that rarely gets fulfilled, but I dream of often. I awaken, later than normal (meaning pretty much any time after seven in the morning), only to the sound of my Beasty scratching under her ears. There is no hubby snoring away beside me, no teenagers needing a drive anywhere, or help to open the pool. I stretch, and sit on the side of my bed to find a note with my name on my bed table. As I reach to enfold it, the following is written:

We have gone out for the day, the whole day.
We will not call, or text or contact you.
Enjoy this gift of a day to enjoy the quiet of our home,
as you wish,
hubby and the kids

And with the reading of the final line, a realization hits me,

I am home alone …

Hallelujah!

(oh, and did you catch the reference to the Princess Bride? “as you wish” … a little romantic reference always makes me happier).

What happens next is a bit of the Tom Cruise dance from the movie Risky Business, and Kevin from Home Alone eating way too much ice cream.

After the initial euphoria is spent on dancing in my underwear (T. M. I … too much information!) and eating ice cream for breakfast I would spread myself across the sofa and smile my biggest Cheshire Cat smile … and smile a contented sigh.

Hey, it is not that I do not love my family, or that I would wish them away. They are four of the best pieces of my life! It is just that once in a while, the thought of being home alone is simply so very delectable to me. The thought of having every waking hour, all to myself, with no expectations of anyone else, just about makes me want to burst with excitement.

And what would I do with all of those hours alone to myself? Well, after the dancing and eating of ice cream … I would probably write a blog post or two (because I love it) … make my bed (because it is my habit) … clean the bathroom (because it needs to be done) … make cookies (because hubby and the kids would love to come home to them) … finish a project or two (because there is always a project or two that is undone in our home) … and weed the garden (because there is just never any desire to do it when others are home).

Hum, other than the dancing and ice cream eating, it really looks like a pretty normal day … but, I desire it so much!

Hey, a girl can dream, right?!

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I am not, nor have ever been Catholic, but on this particular day, I went to confession … at Starbucks.

I was sitting in a cozy orange chair (cozy because my squatty feet actually touched the floor when I sat down … and I smiled with pleasure … it takes so little to make me happy) in Warrenton, Oregon.

I needed to just get away with my laptop and God. Funny really, since I had been at a Christian Conference Center for days, worshiping in music, listening to fine speakers and enjoying the pleasure of sharing in the lives of dear friends who share a common faith.

But, for me, my intimate relationship with God is one that flourishes when it is just He and me.

As I had been driving to my coffee break, I heard a song on the radio, and immediately Shazammed it. Then, when at the coffee shop I went to Youtube to hear it, while absorbing the lyrics, and reading about it’s meaning, or background.

Sitting there, listening, watching and reading, with about thirty Harley Davidson bikers all around me, the tears started to fall, with no end in sight.

Now some would say it was simply the effects of too many nights of poor sleep, or the ingestion of too much bacon, but I know it was something different.

Like a child who has been away at summer camp, I caught sight of my Daddy, and I needed with every fiber within me, to be reunited with Him. And not just reunited, but, like the prodigal son whose father ran TO him, God, through the radio and internet, ran TO me, and reminded me that nothing and no one compares to His embrace.

So often we look to our politicians, our family, our theology to provide security, or hope. But, as I sat, and poured out my confessions to my heavenly father, I was reminded that:

The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—-to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19

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