I was thinking about being alone this morning.
Of course, when I write this, it’s usually dark… and I’m alone.
If everything’s alright, people are still sleeping this early in the morning, so I’m in a house full of people but….for the moment…I’m alone.
I was thinking about really being alone.
I don’t suppose that we’re ever really alone….really alone.
There’s usually someone around, somewhere.
If you want to get on the “I never walk alone” track, we could say that God is always with us.
That’s true. I believe that.
But there’s been times when I really felt alone.
When I transferred from Newberry College to Georgia State University, I was pretty alone.
I was like everybody else, I suppose…alone in a sea of people.
What the heck? I’m not really whining about it…it’s just kind of surprising that in the midst of the biggest crowds is where I find myself feeling most alone. That’s something for me to think about this morning…that I’m most alone in the crowd.
That’s not very profound…maybe it’s just where I’m forced to notice it the most? Out in the woods I’m not nervous about being by myself…it was just something about all those people who I didn’t know…strangers…that bothered me.
(Now I understand that these strangers are just friends I haven’t made yet…but I was more self-conscious when I was younger…seemed to have more at stake than I do now.)
The first time I ate in the cafeteria by myself was kind of eye-opening.
Making that long walk to the table, in a sea of unfamiliar faces, sitting down and eating so I could quickly move on to a location where I didn’t feel so conspicuously solitaire, was a really concentrated effort at first.
And then I got used to it.
Maybe that’s the hurdle we face when we’re slogging towards adulthood? Maybe being alone is something we need to get used to? Maybe recognizing that there are minor (or major?) things that we can survive….like loneliness….is what makes us able to push on into something approaching maturity?
I don’t know.
( Here’s an unscary scene for a new horror movie….all alone in the morning, with your french press of waiting coffee…and you look over and think, “I DIDN’T PRESS THE PLUNGER! WHY IS THE PLUNGER DOWN?!! I DIDN’T PRESS THAT PLUNGER…WHO PRESSED THE PLUNGER ON MY FRENCH PRESS?!! IS ANYONE OUT THERE?!! WHO’S THERE?!!!!! WHO PRESSED THE PLUNGER? HELLO? HELLO?!!! WHO’S OUT THERE?!!!” I think you get the picture. It could be pretty scary.)
I got pretty used to being alone.
Between the running and the art and the music, I seemed to pick solitary amusements.
I didn’t mind not being with anyone other than myself.
“Me time” wasn’t freak out time.
Now I drive the mail around, and while it’s very social sometimes and I do like to visit with people, for the most part it’s a solitary business.
I’m in my Jeep with a bunch of letters and magazines and packages, and I’m with myself all day.
Just me and the radio.
But I don’t feel lonely like I felt in a big crowd of strangers in a very urban cafeteria.
I got better at it…it’s not hard to be the lone wolf now, even though with a family I thankfully never have to know what that feels like anymore.
I don’t know that “getting good at being alone” is really something that’s all that great to shoot for, anyway.
Maybe that’s just part of our “human condition”…so getting “good at being human” has to include some “me..alone.. time”.
What do I really know about being alone, anyway? I’m just sitting here typing…drinking my coffee in the dark.