Never Alone: Why I’d rather go solo than not at all.
“Loneliness and solitude are two things not to get confused,
’cause I spend my solitude with You.”
~From “Therapy” by Relient K
“Carpe Diem” (“Seize the Day” in Latin), has become a common mantra of mine. I really don’t like to pass up opportunities to experience the good things life has to offer just because I can’t find anyone available, willing and able to join me. Life is far too short. We have one life to live. One shot at today. And tomorrow is never a guarantee for any of us.
Sure I prefer to have friends and family by my side to share my experiences with but when all of them are busy, broke or called in last-minute to work, I have a really hard time sitting at home feeling sorry for myself when I could be out on an adventure making the most of it and having fun, even if it means I must go alone.
Besides, the truth of the matter is: I am never alone. God knows we need reminders and the things He really wants to get across to us, He repeats over and over again in the Bible. One of these reminders is: do not fear. It is repeated 365 times in Scripture, once for each day of the year! He knows we are prone to forget. Another one of these commonly repeated messages (and it often goes hand in hand with “do not fear,”) is: “I am with you, always.” There is never a time or place when He is not by our side and He eagerly desires to be invited into our every circumstance and experience.
When I do set out to do something “alone,” one of two things happen: either I will make new friends and/or run into folks I know along the way or I will spend the time enjoying the experience with my best friend, the Savior and Lover of my soul: Jesus. His company is the best I’ve known so either way it’s a win-win.
I love ice skating. I’m not good by any stretch of the imagination, but I really enjoy it. Several weeks before I left for Sicily, I had an early shift at work and was off by 10:30am with no particular plans or appointments scheduled until later in the afternoon. I had recently heard about a cheap, mid-day ice skating session (I think it was only $5 including skate rentals, for a 2-hour session) at the local ice arena, Snoopy’s Home Ice. I really wanted to go. I particularly like mid-week, mid-day sessions like these: they are budget-friendly (normal weekend prices: $12 inc. rentals) and they are not nearly as crowded so I can spend more time having fun and less time trying not to trip on all the little kids who always seem to dart out, stop, and/or fall suddenly, right in front of me.
Everyone I could think of to ask to join me was unable or uninterested in going. Not knowing once I left for Italy, how long it might be before I have another opportunity to go ice skating, I didn’t want to pass up the chance to go. I also knew the following weeks leading up to my departure were going to be very busy so it was now or never.
Waiting for another day when I might find someone else to go with has never really made sense to me anyways, especially not when I have the time, energy, health, resources… to go today. Tomorrow is unreliable. It often brings with it unexpected events or is quickly devoured by the daily chores and duties that constantly demand our attention.
Tomorrow and his friends, “Next Week,” “Next Month” and “Someday,” can be very deceiving. They love to lure me into putting things off, things I could be enjoying today. They are quick to make empty promises that there will be another opportunity of the same nature in the near future. Maybe there will be but what they fail to mention is, we are unable to save the present (which then becomes the past), to be spent another day. The only valid currency of time accepted in the economy of life is that of the present moment. Spend it wisely while you have it because when it’s gone, it’s gone for good.
As the lines of an old hymn start out,
“Though none go with me, still I will follow.”
Yes, though none go with me, still I will do my best to live life to the fullest today, even if I have to go alone. And so I did.
The skating rink was almost empty. There were maybe two dozen adults and a small group of elementary school kids. I put my skates on and had been out on the ice for about a half an hour when I glanced across the rink and thought I recognized a group of college girls who had just arrived. There were three of them. I don’t see them often but I know them from my home church, Hessel, and from Mt. Gilead (a camp and conference center just outside of Sebastopol). I caught up with the girls once they got on the ice. They had recently moved in together and were sharing an apartment in Santa Rosa. They all work at Mt. Gilead but also have other part-time jobs as well and rarely have a full day off from both. On this particular day however, all three of them were off from all of their jobs. This was truly a harmonic convergence of their busy schedules so they decided to take advantage of the rare occasion by spending the afternoon together.
While I was enjoying my time on the ice and thankful I had come even before they had arrived, it truly was a ripe-banana kind of gift to have the pleasure of their company. It was all the more memorable of an experience as we chatted our way around the ice and giggled our way through the Hooky-poky.
I really can’t think of a time I did something by myself and regretted it. From sky-diving and taking a hot-air balloon ride, to traveling through Europe for a month or just attending local concerts, plays, festivals and competitions. My life is richer for these experiences and the many friends I’ve made because I choose to go.
Choose to live. Choose to go. Choose today.