It’s a very good word.
When a young man awakens to love and begins to pursue time alone with a young woman, “alone” is a very good word. I’ll never forget the evening Kim and I both stayed at a friend’s parents’ house. We stayed up long after everyone else retired to their rooms. We sat on the floor and talked. We weren’t even dating yet. But we enjoyed a one-on-one conversation.
From that point on, I sought alone time with Kim. She was my focus. Alone. Getting to know each other.
Aloneness equals discovery.
Weddings are known for gathering numerous people to celebrate and witness the joining of two lives into a union. While surrounded by the masses, the new couple longs to be alone. Finally, the wedding ends. Away. Alone. Secluded.
Aloneness equals oneness.
Eventually, children are born, bills await payment, and responsibilities grow. Diapers. Clambering. Demanding attention. More diapers. Parents are worn out. A couple ends their days asleep on the couch with hopes for an eventual date night to get away and be . . . alone.
Aloneness equals survival.
Children grow into teenagers, young adults. A new existence being established. Independence desired. Feeling their way. The dance of give and take begins—an artful skill. Parental responsibility grows in significance. The stakes are higher. And work or church or community opportunities and responsibilities increase. Varied quadrants seek your wisdom and availability. Couples long for time for each other.
Aloneness equals sanity.
Graduation. Empty nest. Alone at last. Over the days, weeks, months, years, and decades the momentum builds; at every turn you’re seeking to be alone. And now aloneness arrives. I recall our last trip alone to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Teton National Park for our 35th anniversary with great joy.
Aloneness equals reward.
In 2019, Kim unexpectedly collapsed and died. We’d been married for 35 years.
When death visits uninvited, you’re alone in a very different way. As the Preacher observes,
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone. . . . A threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Eccl. 4:9–10, 12)
How can one word be both blissful and blistering? And just when you’re discovering the definition of blissful aloneness, the ultimate bait and switch is pulled off—the bliss tauntingly exchanged for blisters. Blistering aloneness. Death—and the resulting grief and loss—introduces you to a new type of aloneness.
Once you clawed for some alone time as a couple. Now you’d give anything to escape the isolation.
Alone. One word; two very different meanings. A taunting play on a word.
One word; two very different meanings. A taunting play on a word.
Grieving friend, there’s only one way to face the taunting nature of loss and the loneliness that accompanies it. The deep love of Jesus is unchanging. As Robert Grant wrote in his hymn “O Worship the King,” Jesus is our “Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend!” He is our companion, and he never leaves us nor forsakes us (Heb. 13:5). In the deep, deep love of Jesus, you can experience “an ocean vast of blessing . . . a haven sweet of rest.” You can experience his unwavering presence and love.
A version of this article appeared on D. Ray Davis’s website, Facing Loss—where you can download his free eBook Facing Loss: Lessons of Hope from My Unwanted Journey.