Lonely is Not the Same as Solitude
Thought from Kay Miller, a single mother and SMORE Board Member
I am not a person to set intentional goals or dreams for myself. However, I have always thought when the boys left home for college, my dad was the only tie that kept me tethered to Southeast Texas. My oldest son is now three hours away at Texas A&M and in May of this year my youngest son graduated from high school and made the decision to live on campus at Lamar University. So, with that decision I became an official Empty Nester. In July, my sweet dad lost his battle with cancer – at 88 years old. So, I found myself alone, and untethered for the first time in my life. Fifty-two years in the same place. It was time for a change.
I had been unhappy with my job for a while and had applied for many jobs in the last six months. I finally found the courage to apply out of the area, and as fate would have it – I landed a job in Waco, Texas. It all seemed to fall into place from the online interviews and zoom calls to finding a place to live. I ended up purchasing a home still under construction and then had to find a rental quickly. God’s fingerprints were all over every stage of this process, and I found myself renting a mother-in-law space adjacent to the home of a lovely couple. The only drawback for me was it was located on 63 acres of land. I moved in on Saturday and started the new job the following Monday. The apartment was fully furnished so moving in took about 20- minutes. And then … Nothing. Silence. Solitude.
It was like my world was silent for the first time in at least 20 years and I could hear God inhaling and exhaling! Quite honestly, I didn’t like it at all. Silence makes me anxious. Silence makes me think. Silence makes me cry. . . a lot. Oh, and solitude – not really my strong suit either. I am a creative and I thrive on a crowd, noise and chaos. How would I ever survive on this beautiful farm where quiet grows faster than the grass in the fields?
I have been here in this silence and solitude for two months, and I am adjusting. Some would define solitude as being alone. Yes, I am all alone out here. But it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I miss friends, I miss playing live music, I miss knowing where I am going when I leave the house. But I am also finding some new faith, some new hope and I am beginning to love this solitude I have found. To me, solitude means more than just being alone. To me, it is the combination of two words – solid and attitude. I could sit here all alone and have a complete pity party for one. There have been times when that seemed appropriate in the past 60 days. However, I had to be solid in myself and fix my attitude about myself. I had to realize that maybe I am in solitary so that I can process some of my changes.
There was a great deal of emotions that surfaced with my dad’s passing. Maybe the solitude is a blessing in disguise. Maybe it is my God ordained place to unpack some of the baggage I literally drug with me on my four-hour move. Or, maybe, the baggage is dragging me. Either way, it has become clear to me that solitude is a heavenly gift. It arrives at its appointed time, because He knows what we so desperately need – even in those moments when we don’t even know which end is up.
My encouragement for you today is to embrace the solitude. Be solid in yourself, and adjust your attitude about where you are in this time. His plans are for us to prosper. His ways are far above our ways. He sees our future. So, trust Him when you find yourself in solitary confinement. Because you are never alone. He walks with me, He talks with me, and He tells me I am his own. The joy we share, as I tarry here in solitude….none other has ever known. Be blessed.