Tag Archives: loneliness

Solitude, aloneness, and loneliness

island-lighthouseI need people.  No, I don’t need people!

You know, sometimes, I like to be lost in the fray of activity, the swirl of things-going-on, the hub of “what’s happening now” … people, busyness, events, and all the things we do to be connected in this social world.

Then, there is that time of retreat, of separateness from all that is “other”.  What about “ME”?  I just want my own thoughts, my own space and schedule, and no expectations to be anything other than just myself.  After awhile, that gets incredibly boring (being alone with myself), and the whole engagement/detachment cycle starts over again!

Do you ever think something like, “Where in the world am I in the midst of all this?” or “What is my place in the world?”

The ways I respond to solitude, aloneness, and loneliness make a great difference in my ability to re-engage with others.  It might be just an hour of down-time, or it might be the evening, or it could be a prolonged period.  Some busy parents never seem to have that moment!  Other people can have too much time on their hands (so, they become bloggers?!).  Sometimes in life, though, each of us has to face the feeling of being “alone”.

Is it good, or is it bad?  Well, I guess that has a lot to do with how we approach it.  These times remind me of priorities and focus; I have the chance through solitude to re-calibrate my purpose and direction.  Most of all, these times – be they brief or prolonged – allow me the opportunity to commune with God who loves me and calls me by name.  In these quiet and separate times I find myself both comforted and discomforted:  comforted to know that I am never really alone, discomforted to realize my existence is so interwoven with relationships – I’d better pay attention to them!

Where does detachment lead you in your thoughts and feelings?  Does it invite you into prayer, insight, and action, or does it head into a sense of lonely desperation?  Does being separate from the swirl of human activity make you pensive and creative, or do you become fidgety and anxious?  I’m familiar with these responses.  I try to let them remind me to draw renewal from the well of life.  There, at the well, is communion with my Creator, my Savior, and my Sustainer.  I unite again with the Lord of Life before returning to the interactions and tasks of being a social being – BEING FULLY HUMAN!

It really isn’t “Me, against the world!”  Instead, “What can ‘Me’ do … in … and for … and with ‘the world’?  What can ‘Me’ be in that place and with the people whom God invites me to share in this gift of existence?!”

I need people.  No, I don’t need people!  Who am I kidding? … I need people, and people need me!  You need people, and people need you!

Stuart Swann

Jesus taught …  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.   And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  (Mark 12:30-31, KJV)


“Rut” – a grave with both ends knocked out!

Stuck in a rut?How do I get out of this?

Do you ever get the sense that you’re just living the same day over and over again!?  Bill Murray’s movie classic, “Groundhog Day”, surely brings the point home.  In that film, Bill’s character relives Groundhog Day (February 2nd) in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, over and over.  His self-centered weatherman character, Phil Connors, gradually learns the only way to get “unstuck” is to be less stuck on himself!  Through actions focused on others and his own personal growth, the shallow, hedonistic, desperate prisoner of his own life becomes a more whole person – and even “gets the girl”, Rita (played by Andie MacDowell). Check it out, sometime, if you haven’t seen it.  A culture classic from 1993!

I have heard it said that, “A rut is nothing but a grave with both ends knocked out!”  How true!  Once we get into a pattern of thought or actions that lead nowhere the life gets sucked right out of us!  Hope, anticipation, new experiences, adventure, new relationships – these, and more, are squelched before they can even get started!  I really don’t like “ruts”, but you can’t altogether avoid them!  Sometimes, a rut has to happen before the need for change can be realized and welcomed.

One way to deal with a rut is to reach out for help:  Isolation and self-determination lead to a lonely frustration.  Keeping the rut to myself is a sure way of remaining stuck (Yes, it is humbling to even admit that I am in a rut!).  When I, finally, open the situation to the light of day by sharing it with a trusted and able friend or counselor, my truth telling begins to make the rut a teacher, instead of a grave.

Openness, conversation, prayer, encouragement – these are just some of the ways that I find myself breaking free of my own personal “Groundhog Day” experiences.  I can’t really think of a rut in my life from which I can become free without connecting to someone and something greater beyond myself.  How about you?

Stuart Swann