Who are you?
when you are alone,
far from home…no one watching, no one waiting, who are you?
I haven’t considered who I was when I was all alone for years. I look in the mirror and think…when did I grow up? (Note to self: that’s different than wondering when I got older.) What happened? My life changed and I secretly wonder how I got here. Can you relate at all?
I have a family. I have a job. We live in America. There is distraction constantly. Why would I be alone?
I wish I had noticed sooner.
So, I found myself with an opportunity. The task at hand…to find myself again. Did you follow that? Let me explain.
My husband had to go on a trip where he would be in graduate classes onsite for a lot of hours over a weekend, halfway across the Continental United States. Since he knows how much I love to travel, he said, “I’m taking you along. I bought you a ticket. Hope you don’t mind. You will have some time alone.” Mind having time alone? Mind traveling far from home? Umm, yes please, I will figure it out.
But I quickly learned that as excited as I was to go, I had to make choices with my time alone and prioritize. I had waited so many years to try something like this, I was overwhelmed at the options I could enjoy! Quickly I realized that I didn’t have nearly enough hours to spend alone and I wouldn’t get to all the things I wanted to do. At risk of sounding like a “less than quality” wife and mother, please understand, I had forgotten over the years to cultivate myself in my world. I had been putting all my energy, time, and money into my husband, my kids, my parents, my sister…even my church family… to the point that I was rarely if ever, alone.
I didn’t notice I was making the choice to burn myself out.
So back to “me time”. Sounds so selfish, doesn’t it? Uncomfortably so.
- I want to read and study my bible for hours, for me. (I will even take my bible on the plane, even though I know the gold page edges set off the security alarms and they will have to search my bags again. Security can be a scary thing for someone who is a rule follower. There is intense pressure!)
- I want to write this blog, for me, even if no one in the universe ever reads it besides my sweet husband. (How else will he know what’s going on in my head?)
- I want to take a harbor cruise on a sailboat. (Because I want to sit back and enjoy being on the water without having to worry that any of my children will fall overboard and need rescue.Doesn’t every mom imagine this prior to buying the tickets?)
- I want to shop for me. Although I will probably only buy things for my family or nothing at all, I will wander aimlessly through the air conditioning. Then I will go outside and enjoy feeling so nice and warm again.)
- I want to read a novel in the sun. Pure literature, I love historical fiction. Yes, I will wear loads of sunscreen. Sadly, I couldn’t get my sun hat in my carry-on bag.
- I will eat what I choose during my hours alone. Forget the opinions, dietary needs, or food preferences of anyone else. I will discover what I prefer.
- I want to wander without an agenda. “Blisters happen” but I will keep walking.
This feels so good. Is it possible, even probable, that being alone will help me to be less distracted and more connected with the people I love on a daily basis? I think the answer is yes.
All these wonderful people never asked me to be their entire world.
For some reason, I thought doing all these things for people was a good thing. I was serving them with my whole heart because I love them. While that makes sense on one level, it made me too busy to watch who I was and where I was going. All alone, far from home, I realized I needed to fix this. I needed them to understand Jesus is their whole world and mine. I can not ever, ever, ever be to them what I have been trying to be.
So, what did I choose to do first in my alone time? The first thing I did after my husband left for his first class was turn to Psalm 71 in my bible, while holding a cup of coffee. The anonymous author reflects on who God has been to him from childhood to old age. He reflects on good days and bad days, hopeful days and heavy days. But, he continues to praise God.
I realize after my hours alone, God never left me. I wasn’t really alone. He was with me in my childhood and will be with me until I am old and gray (literally stated in verse 18). I am a “daughter of the King”, I am precious, I am loved. Not even spending time alone, far from home can change that.