by Annette Bridges. © 2007. All rights reserved.
I have to admit, the fall season hasn’t always been my favorite time of year. Oh, I enjoyed the cooler temperatures and lovely colors of the season, but I never relished spending ten days alone at home while my husband took his annual sporting trip to Colorado. In fact, I dreaded the arrival of the days! Even if I had friends or family with me, I still struggled with loneliness when my husband was away.
One year after my husband left on his trip, I found myself having to face up to this completely on my own. Our daughter had gone off to college and I was alone in our house for the first time. I was miserable. I managed to get through the first day by staying busy with various things, but as night fell I became increasingly despondent and lonely.
I knew it was just me and God, and I needed a prayerful resolution to make it through the night.
Having been a student of Christian Science for several years, I knew that as a child of God the companionship of my divine Parent and Friend was forever with me—ready, willing, and able to help. In fact, the Psalmist assured me that God was my “refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” This passage reminded me of other difficult times in my life when I’d witnessed the presence and help of my Father-Mother God with me. This was comforting, but I still couldn’t stop feeling very much alone without my husband.
Like Jacob in the Bible, wrestling with his limited, material view of life, I found myself wrestling that night with the extreme loneliness I felt. I knew I needed a prayerful resolution to make it through the night.
I perused Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, looking for words of comfort to capture my attention. As I read, statements that always helped me when I prayed about physical difficulties were suddenly speaking to me in a fresh, healing way.
I decided to stand up for myself and contradict the isolating thoughts that had encroached on my peace of mind.
One of these statements read, “Mortal mind alone sentences itself…. Mentally contradict every complaint from the body.” I’d always used this idea to dispute symptoms of discomfort and illness. But now this familiar statement took on even greater meaning. It meant not just giving up and accepting the verdict that I was bound to feeling isolated.
Mrs. Eddy pointed out that fear is at the root of most difficulties. And she wrote about how to go about mastering fear: “Take antagonistic grounds against all that is opposed to the health, holiness and harmony of man, God’s image.”
Imagining myself as a lawyer on the case for my defense, I decided to stand up for myself and contradict the isolating thoughts that had encroached on my peace of mind. I replaced them with the spiritual facts of my identity as God’s child, expressing dominion, poise, and confidence. As I did this, I could sense my thoughts changing, moment by moment, to a more uplifted outlook.
Love knows no boundaries and is not confined by time and space.
Through prayer I gained a clearer view of my Father-Mother’s ever-presence, and the fear began to subside. It was a talking with God time—aloud actually—pondering the expanse of His love for me, my husband, and everyone. I couldn’t help but feel united with my husband as I thought about the all-inclusive nature of divine Love.
I realized that the tender, patient, joy-filled relationship my husband and I share is simply a natural expression of God’s love for each of us. And Love knows no boundaries and is not confined by time and space. So I couldn’t be living with a deficiency of love for ten weeks, ten days, or even ten minutes.
During that night of consecrated prayer I found a lasting sense of wholeness in my relationship with God. And the sense of incompleteness I felt without my spouse just disappeared. I was able to glimpse that I am indeed, a “whole-souled woman,” of God’s creating (Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896, p.224).
Time alone in spiritual reflection can help bring balance and perspective to our lives.
Do I miss my husband when we’re apart? Sure. But these days loneliness no longer consumes my thought. And it certainly no longer confuses and distorts my perception of myself. Now, I cherish my moments of solitude. It may mean sipping a cup of hot tea while studying my Bible Lesson, taking a walk, writing in my journal, or relaxing on the sofa with a book. But it doesn’t include fretting about loneliness.
Time alone in spiritual reflection can help bring balance and perspective to our lives. And such holy moments can refresh a troubled heart with reasons for hope and point toward solutions. These alone-with-God moments are a wonderful gift to ourselves. They’re moments that enable us to feel the embrace of our Father-Mother God, reminding us that we’re loved and wanted.
Yes, a good dose of “heavenly inspiration” that leads to solid convictions about our true, spiritual nature is the only lasting solution I’ve found for overcoming feelings of loneliness—or anything else. And I get my best inspiration when I’m alone with God.
As you take your stand against loneliness and despair, rest assured, “…the God of love and peace shall be with you” always!