I never planned to be alone. I planned to have a handsome, clever husband and a house full of dimpled babies. I kept setting deadlines for this anticipated life.
“I’ll be married by the time I am twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five,” but those deadlines came and went, and I was still alone.
What do you do when your dreams do not materialize, and the thing you think you want above all others proves to be unattainable?
Well, you can sit with hands folded and wait and wait and wait as disappointment overwhelms and hope fades.
I never fell victim to that kind of despair. Thank God! I realized that, disappointed though I was, there was still a life to be lived. Time is a finite resource, and I could never win back the time I wasted feeling sorry for myself, so I got on with my life doing what I believed God wanted me to do. Did I want to do it alone? Never! Yet, I had no choice, so I learned to be alone.
I learned to be alone and I did a bang-up job of it. Figuring out life alone developed my self-sufficiency, and boosted my confidence. I was forced to learn how to handle things for myself. I discovered that I was capable of doing more than I thought I could. I began to enjoy my freedom and prize my independence.
I found that I could be a successful public school teacher, that I could leave my teaching job and enter fulltime ministry, that, at God’s bidding, I could settle in Europe as a missionary, learn the French language, and work effectively in other far off places.
It took being alone for me to really get to know me, and I found that I liked the person that I was becoming.
Yes, there were times when I was lonely. There were times when I was afraid. There were times when flights were cancelled in strange places, and no one in the world knew exactly where I was at the moment. That’s scary, but I always found a way out of those situations.
There were things that I had to guard against. As a woman alone, knowing that I was responsible for everything, I had to be careful that I did not come across as too brash or too demanding. It is sometimes hard to strike a happy medium—to be sweet and kind and still get things done.
Years later, a male friend of mine accused me of being pushy. He hurt my feelings. I told him frankly that, as a woman alone all those years, I had only done what was necessary. However, I can see how it must have looked to him. His wife, a lovely lady, would not go shopping without him, nor would she buy a dress unless he saw it first and approved. I would have been hard put in such a situation.
At the age of 83, I really haven’t changed all that much. On Friday, last week, I was scheduled to have new flooring installed in my bedroom. Materials would be delivered on Thursday. Thursday morning the phone rang about 6:30, and I received a voice mail message saying that they were on their way and would arrive in a few minutes. When they had not arrived by noon, I called Home Depot, and they referred me to the delivery company, who had no record of a delivery for me. “Call Home Depot,” they said.
Again, I called Home Depot, and spoke to the Manager on duty explaining my dilemma. “They don’t have any record of such a delivery, and I must have the materials today, because they are installing in the morning,” I told him.
“Nothing a can be done before Monday,” he replied.
Being upset, I said with tears, “If they don’t install it tomorrow, I will have to wait another month.”
“Ma’am,” he said emphatically. “It is physically impossible to do anything about it today.”
“Please explain to me what you mean by “Physically impossible,” I countered.
“Hold on just a minute,” he replied.
Coming back on the phone, he said, “Mrs. Reese, there is a very nice young man here, who is going to deliver your materials in about thirty minutes as soon as the truck returns.”
I wanted to shout “Hallelujah,” but instead I thanked him sweetly. Being alone, I have learned NEVER to give up.
Lest you think that I am laboring under the delusion that I have done all of this by myself for 83 years, the truth is I have never been alone for one split second. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus has been my constant companion walking with me every step of the way. In the bad and the good times, I have clung to His word.
Isaiah 41:10. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
Hebrews 13:5. “…He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’”
If you are alone today, or perhaps just feeling alone, Jesus is there for you, if you will allow Him, He will be closer to you than a brother never leaving your side. He will walk with you every step of the way.
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!