Have you ever gone days at a time without saying a word to another human being? I have. Have you ever gone days without benefit of a human touch? I have. Have you ever gone days and days without ever leaving your house? I have.
Now, before you go feeling sorry for me, know I’ve experienced those things by choice. After the Hubs died, I had no desire to talk, be touched, or be seen. I went into mourning and a period of lamenting. Thankfully, I had the good sense to know when enough was enough. I felt the risk that comes from walking on the ragged edge of seclusion for too long. By design, we can only live so long without the human touch, the human voice, and community before a switch gets flipped and we become unrecognizable to ourselves and those who love us.
My oldest son got all the way through college and several years as a young professional before he found the love of his life, married and finally gave me grandchildren. He laughed at me and rolled his eyes when I’d tell him to go the principal’s office ever so often and ask for a hug. He was and still is, a teacher, if he weren’t that would really sound stranger than it already does. Of course, I was kidding, mostly. But, I was concerned that he would go too long without human touch. As they say, a hug a day can save your life. (Actually, I don’t know who says that, but I know it’s true.)
Living alone is hard for me and is hard on me; Not because I’m such a people person, but because, I and all of us on plant earth, were created from the get-go to need each other. Oh, there’s some perks to the single life. I am a writer. Most writers I know, write alone in a room. I’ve got this. I don’t have to make my bed if I don’t want to and I can eat cereal for supper whenever I feel like it. Also, by living alone these last five years, I’ve been forced to get to know myself, who I am and who I want to be. Living alone, God has my full attention more than he ever had when I lived with the Hubs. I’m not real proud of that, especially since my life was and is one of ministry, but it’s true. Living alone, has forced me into an independence I didn’t know I could muster. Living alone has forced me to be more courageous, hence, the Traveling Writing Room (my little yellow trailer). Living alone has unveiled little gems of myself I never knew existed like, I sing full stanzas of songs, out loud by myself, even if I have to make up some of the words. I’ve learned to talk to myself without apology, and I’ve discovered the benefits of laughing out loud when there’s no one else around. I’m a hoot, I really am.
However, if you give me a choice of living again with the Hubs or living alone, it’s a no brainer. So, I get lonely. I yearn for conversation. I hunger for hugs (thank goodness I have those grandchildren), and I long for community… as we all do. I just never know when, where and from whom my next conversation or hug will come from.
Mine is an altered life. I am not alone in this. We are legend, those of us who find ourselves by ourselves. We are in a time of discovery, on a path we never expected, and experiencing a depth of understanding we never knew we were capable of. Cheer us on. Hug us when you get a chance and invite us into your circle. We’ll all be better for it.