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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Alone, But Not Lonely

Photo Credit:  Penywise from
A couple of weeks ago, I left the gym feeling more sore than usual.  I mean, my arms, legs, abs, derrière, (wrists and ankles even) were screamin’.  Now, on a normal day, I might have been proud that I felt so terrible because that meant that I had REALLY worked out…pushed myself to the limits…you know, rocked it.

The sad truth is that I actually made it out of the gym feeling just fine.  I most probably needed to have challenged myself a little more even.  Why the soreness then?  Well…lemme tell ya.

That particular day, I had parked right by the curb, under a nice shade tree.  I gracefully made my way to the car, feeling pretty good for having even gone to the gym that week.  I unlocked my car and opened the door.  With my left foot on the curb and my right foot about to step up into the car…it happened. 

My left ankle buckled on the uneven surface and in one swift and ever-so-clumsy maneuver, I found myself on the ground.  I clawed the inside of the door in a grand effort to save myself from going down, but proceeded to scrape a burn on my arm that I had gotten the day before from a sizzling fajita platter.  Ouch.  How my right foot was still in the car, I’ll never know.

Just call me, “Grace.”  However, I’m fairly certain that I won’t be growing old gracefully at all.  From the looks of it, I’ll be going down kicking and screaming.  My poor, dear, sweet husband...surely, God will give him the strength to put up with me.

Did you know that it is, in fact, humanly possible to jump 32 inches from a sitting position on the ground straight into your car?  Well, it is.  I did it.  I didn’t even scan the parking lot to see if anyone had seen my royal wax out.   I was OUT.  OF.  THERE.  Within seconds, I was in my car and driving to somewhere far, far away…NEVER to return.

Never, that is…until I picked up my daughter from pre-school and noticed that my phone was missing.  I quickly looked through my purse and the car, knowing full well that it was probably laying on the ground right where my backside met the pavement.  I knew I had to go back…and face it.  So, “NEVER,” just so happened to be a whopping 30 minutes later in this case.

Slouched down low in the driver’s seat, I eased my car back into the parking lot.  With my darkest shades on, I pretended to be chillin’ like a cool cucumber.  If I can’t see them, they can’t see me…you know the drill.  I reasoned that if I did drop my phone there, it would indeed still be there.  No one, I mean NO ONE, would want my phone.  It’s an old-style flip phone that has more flop than flip these days.  I also decorated it with my daughter’s rhinestone stickers so my husband could easily tell the difference between our otherwise identical phones.  Say it with me now, “Fancy….Fan-SAY!”

I was right.  No one took it.  Woo-hoo!  There it was, resting in a pile of brown leaves near the “scene,” with all the pretty bling-bling glistening in the sun.  I thanked God for allowing me to find it because it would have been super inconvenient having to locate everyone’s phone number again.  I also prayed that any and all eyes that had witnessed the horrific stunt didn’t recognize me.  And, I said another quick prayer thanking the Lord that I hadn’t broken anything during my earlier, uhem, fall.

It just so happens that one of our topics during Bible study was about walking, well, walking humbly with God.  Of course, in my case, I should learn how to walk…period…but, I digress.  “Be fair and just and merciful, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) In order to walk humbly, we need to listen carefully to the revealed will of God in our lives.  As much as we’d love to think we are in control.  Really, we’re not.

But, how can we listen carefully to hear God’s will?  One thing that might be helpful is to sprinkle our week with some alone time.  And, by alone, I don’t mean lonely.  No one likes “lonely.”  There’s a difference. 

My trusty little “Worrywart’s Prayer Book” has always offered a dose of inspiration at just the right time.  Nolan reminds us that Jesus is the One who can relieve the gnawing feeling of loneliness.  “People come and go in our lives and we feel at times, lonely, afraid, and forsaken.  But, Jesus promised us, ‘I am with you always.’  Even better, the Bible tells us that nothing can separate us from Him.”

Nolan also shares, “Let’s stop running away from solitude.  Let’s embrace it, make time for it, and use it as an opportunity to strengthen our connection to Jesus.  Let’s foster His companionship above all others and remember that with Him by our side, we may be alone, but we can never be lonely.”  I love that.

The Lord asks us to walk.  He asks us to walk humbly (Micah 6:8).  He asks us to walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7).  He asks us to walk with love for others, following His example (Ephesians 5:2).  He asks us to walk with the Holy Spirit so we aren’t led astray (Galatians 5:16).  He asks us to walk the godly paths to find rest for our souls (Jeremiah 6:16).  He asks us to walk with the Light because whoever walks in darkness does not know the way. (John 12:35)

Surely, with all this walking, we might eventually stumble, right?  I mean, I hear that people do….you know, stumble…sometimes.  Uhem.  Father Bentil shared a hopeful message during Mass last weekend.  He reminded us that not only does God bless our successes, but He also blesses our efforts.  I like that.  A whole lot.

The Lord knows when we are trying.  He knows when we are giving it our all and when we’re not.  When we fall (and we will), we need to slowly get back up and try again.  Or like me, just jump up in one 32-inch vertical leap and quickly get the heck outta there.  (Kidding.  I’m kidding).  Remember…I ended up having to go back to the place I stumbled and face it. 

Whatever “it” might be for us, we don’t have to tackle it by ourselves.  If we ask the Lord for help, His will be the outstretched arm that reaches down to help us get back up. 

Let’s grab some alone time this week to reconnect with a friend…our forever friend…One who will never leave us lonely.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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