Some are very good at being alone. They thrive in the emptiness. The noise and fullness of people surrounding them is not needed and they crave that breath of calm, cool air that you have room to take in when no one else is around. Senses aware of you and just you, each and every breath and the ticking heart beating is heard and felt. Now I’m not talking about the busy-aloneness; the kind where your thoughts are already accounted for in the never ending line of tasks and jobs to be done. I’m not referring to the kind where no one else is around, but you don’t really notice because of how full your thoughts are and how in motion the rest of you is. I’m talking about pure emptiness. There’s nothing your thoughts must be forced to dwell on, no pressure or endless busy, just time and the ticking heart clock keeping track of each empty moment. It’s times like these that tend to make me the most anxious.
We spend so many moments trapped in the monotonous carousel of people, jobs, and life. Filling moments alone with music and gossip and TV, anything to cover up the roaring silence. Silence is chilling and frightening. How much time do you really and truly spend in the silence? For me, these proportions are microscopic when compared to the moments of noise. I drink in the happy others pour over me. In people-presence, I feel alive and at home. I matter, I am a part. Community and life flowing from the laughing mouths and connected eyes I surround myself with.
Alone I am left with the deepness of who I am. Exposed to the only one who will truly know what’s going on inside this neatly calm and collected outside… me. Do I really want to give myself that time to study my insides? Do I long for enough moments to press into my thoughts, my dreams, my desires? Not really… nope. You see, it’s much easier to go on with the carousel of noise. It’s easier to fight the emptiness, the space. If I’m full, then I’m happy. If I’m full, then I’m somebody. But who am I when I’m alone? Who am I when time stops and I’m left with just my thoughts and the silence? Sometimes I’m afraid to know the answer. I’m afraid to just stop and seek the silence. The silence that makes me feel insecure and void of the surrounding happy, void of all this busy that I think is purpose. Tick… tick… tick… the beating heart thumps louder and louder until my ears fill with its noise.
But what if someone else lives there in the silence? What if this fear to seek these alone moments is holding me back from an experience more life giving than the laughter and the people, more exciting than the constant noise I fill my life with, more purposeful than the busy buzz at work or home? For a moment I brave it, this silence. I take in a deep breath closing my eyes and letting the fact that I am alone really sink in. 1, 2 ,3, 4 ticks of the heart go by and again I breathe. I let out the frustration and the chaos of the day, I clear my head of the noise, I embrace the discomfort and press on searching, seeking more from this empty silence. Deep breaths and the beating heart make music and I hear a voice telling me to pray. Words and thoughts to the King flow unceasingly and I start to realize that this empty silence is not so empty at all. The fullness of His presence is there in the searching, the weight of His love lives in the silence, my insecurity and fear is mightily conquered in these small quiet moments of being alone.
Don’t forget alone time, friend. This life can be chaotic and noisy. We fill each moment with new things, with movies and music, with friends and knowledge. As important as some of these time fillers might be we must not forget the importance of “seeking the silence.” True rest, confidence, forgiveness, love, strength, and wisdom lives there.