Alone. By Myself. I am on my own. Lonely. Words that no one likes to say to themselves. They are ones that bring sadness and discouragement and echo in our mind. We wish to shout out, ‘do not leave me alone, where are you, I need you’. Especially around the holidays, this can a depressing time if feeling lonely. When it comes to sharing the same feeling, we are not alone!
If you have been around horses they show no pride when they are left alone. Only since becoming horse owners a few years ago did I find out horses hate being left alone. Whiskey (pictured on my mini-story page and in this photo) acts as if he is the boss and likes to let everyone know how strong and proud he is. But take away his friend and companion (Chief is the white one) and he will roust about running, kicking, and whinnying at the top of his lungs for his partner to return. When my wife talked me into getting this new pet, I calculated the cost of owning a horse and said yes. Little did I know I would need to double the cost though, as no horse likes to be alone and thus two as a minimum are required. (Recent picture with a great sunset)
So now to go with our two dogs, two cats, two birds, two parents, and two kids, we have two horses.
This recurring theme of loneliness keeps showing up everywhere. I wrote about holiday pressure a week ago, the big consolation was knowing others are in the same boat. Rowers of the lonely boat also surround us all.
I was sitting in a meeting with a group of sales folks and one of them started a comedy routine that had us all rolling on the floor. The problem was his comedic story was sadly true. He described being at a meeting where he was on a panel of speakers. The meeting was to talk about community race relations. He being of dark skin was asked to speak and provide his opinion on the topic. Each panel member introduced himself mentioning the name of his or her employer. Polite applause followed the intro of everyone until it reached our friend. When he told the audience of 250 people (which happened to be hosted by one of his primary customers) his employer, he said, ‘they booed me’. He went on, “I am at a race relations event, and because of who I work for they booed me. How am I supposed to go back to that place and sell them something, when the whole city thinks my company’s service is so bad. They booed me, a black man, at a race relations unification meeting”?
While it was hilarious to hear his rendition of the scene there was little we could do to make him feel better. I, leading the meeting, suggested well the good news is in this industry you can rest assured pretty much all your competitors have the same struggles. His reply was yes, ‘we suck less than the other guys’. We all laughed; while one other ‘new sales guy’ described what it was like at the company he had been laid off from three months ago, a competitor in worse shape. We all took consolation in knowing we were not alone in our job situations. Shortly after this meeting yet another layoff took place for these folks, two weeks before Christmas. Again, the only good news, you are not alone.
On our home front we are working together to help my father-in-law support his wife who is in the latter, awful, stages of Dementia. As I sat in that same meeting, one man shared the story of his Father suffering through Alzheimer’s disease whom he visits often at a full care facility. In both cases, as are others who are helping their parents with this cruel disease, I am able to relate from the standpoint of going through the same scenario now as we did with my Father who we witnessed deteriorate over a period of years before passing away. We are not alone.
In the midst of hearing of the layoff at a customer I have worked with for 14 years I have made many friends, they are not just clients. After every layoff I call around to my close friends to see if they survived. I called a very dear friend who recently, thank God for His healing power, recently underwent chemo-therapy and is a cancer survivor. Aside from having cancer she took care of and continues to take care of her Mother who has dementia. This after burying her husband two years ago. She described how her other relatives have stayed far away. As she cried, I had a lump in my throat for her and my mind flashed with thoughts of another friend who just this week received the news from her doctor, the news that no one wants to hear. We are not alone.
As we continue in to the Christmas season it is time to be cognizant of the loneliness that some may feel as memories of lost ones fill some minds. We want to celebrate the season and spread good cheer. It is also a time to be that person who helps someone who may be feeling loss, or even suffering through difficult times. It is a good time to keep an ear to the ground and look for the signs to tell someone, ‘You are not alone’. And better yet, ‘I am here for you’.
Aside from consoling others in the same boat, there is one other story of someone who can relate what it is like to alone, if you like to hear it, dare to ….
(If this is your first time visiting Average Joe’s Portico, please read the Do you Dare tab to understand the shift, tap the red line before you read below and come on back ‘if you dare’)
In order to truly understand what others are feeling or going through, we often say ‘put yourself in their shoes and maybe you will get it’. My large dog Deacon (a 135 pound giant Schnauzer) gets separation anxiety, several times we forgot to close the windows in the house before leaving. Consequently, he ripped huge holes in the screens. While I wanted to pounce on him for ruining my house, I have sympathy for his not wanting to be alone as my horses, and many other animals act the same way when left alone. I can put myself in his shoes (er large paws that is).
We do not often think of Jesus as one who would not like being alone, but He was at least one time. When God created the heavens, earth, and all else as described in Genesis he said all was good. He created the animals, water, vegetation, light, and man and said all was good. There was only one thing he saw that was bad, and that was that man being alone was not good. So he fixed that and created Eve and many more people, as He knew being alone all the time was not a healthy situation. He took it many steps further and put His own son on earth to walk in the shoes of the average Joe.
While we think of Jesus as being perfect and having a great relationship with God, we seldom think about his own experience where he lacked people support. I shared this in my last mini-story but feel the need to write it again, not from the handling pressure point, but from the point of being alone;
Then Jesus went with them to a garden called Gethsemane and told his disciples, “Stay here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he plunged into an agonizing sorrow. Then he said, “This sorrow is crushing my life out. Stay here and keep vigil with me.”
Going a little ahead, he fell on his face, praying, “My Father, if there is any way, get me out of this. But please, not what I want. You, what do you want?”
When he came back to his disciples, he found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, “Can’t you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”
He then left them a second time. Again he prayed, “My Father, if there is no other way than this, drinking this cup to the dregs, I’m ready. Do it your way.”
When he came back, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn’t keep their eyes open. This time he let them sleep on, and went back a third time to pray, going over the same ground one last time.
When he came back the next time, he said, “Are you going to sleep on and make a night of it? My time is up, the Son of Man is about to be handed over to the hands of sinners. Get up! Let’s get going! My betrayer is here.” Matthew 26:31-46 (The Message)
Jesus knew what it was like to be alone. He knew what it was like to want support from people. He knew what it was like to receive no help from people. From one viewpoint, we might say, yeah, but He had God right there with Him the whole time, He was fine. I would agree that yes, Jesus because He had the closest relationship of one-ness with God we would think possible, he had consolation from the greatest source. But, Jesus asked for people support once. Then went back to see if it was there, not once, but three times. He felt what it was like to have little to no support from people. He knew what it is like to be alone.
Sometimes we in life will be in situations where there is no other source to meet a need of consolation. Sometimes we in life will be in situations where there is no source to meet a need of support. But the really good news is, we have a God who has been in those shoes before. We have a God that has been in the same boat and knows how to help relieve our anxiety, and bring consolation, support, and peace to us. He has been there.
Then Jesus died as every flesh bearing being eventually does. I can’t explain the why of all of that happens in life(although there are thoughtful discussions to watch if you want an explanation), I can say God does not leave us to stand alone. In fact, when Jesus historically and factually returned to earth for forty days, He went out of His way to make a most important statement in His last words before returning to heaven. He understood that His followers would run into situations with no people support. He had been there, done that, and wanted us to know, He is with us always, we are Not Alone.
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 New Living Translation (NLT)
Perhaps you are going through a time of no people support. You are welcome to share your story with our readers in the comments section below who are willing to provide some support. You may also or send an email to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments, they are always welcome. Let us know how we can help or if you have prayer requests, allow us to lift them up for you.