Every fourth Sunday, I serve on a greeting team at my church. One week, our coordinator sent me to a side door that, I soon learned, few people use. For about half an hour, I stood there, welcoming maybe a handful of attendees during that time. I could hear conversations coming from the fellowship room and down the hall, yet I waited alone.
And I felt it, crawling through me like a fever. Yep. You’re alone again. Big surprise. With nothing to distract them, the destructive thoughts made themselves known, catching me completely off-guard. I was at church, for heaven’s sake. Why was I letting this negativity get my mind off my purpose for being there?
It’s not as bad as it used to be. I remember times of solitude when I screamed my frustration, venting an anger I kept stuffed inside the rest of the time. As a result, I’ve learned how to use noise as a diversion. Music, TV, books, even singing to myself seem to do the trick. Still, there are those rare moments… and I’m not always good at handling them.
An ugliness comes from a place deep inside me that I thought I’d already dealt with. “I’m doing great!” I tell anyone who asks. “Writing about being single has been so cathartic.”
Then I end up standing in my church hallway, fighting off tears and wondering why I’m such a mess.
Not that I’ve ever claimed complete healing from the grief of singleness, but I’ve certainly reached a place ruled by hope, and I have a renewed sense of peace and satisfaction in the life God has given me.
And that renewed sense has taught me to take my mind off myself and put it on Him and others. To reach out to someone who might need prayer or a listening ear or a word of encouragement.
All of which presents me with a much better noise to distract myself with than old episodes of Castle.
What about you? Does solitude make you more aware of your aloneness? How do you handle it?
*** This post first appeared at girlsnightin40.com ***
For most of her life, Sharyn Kopf had a dream: to write sweet little romances or exciting adventures of the heart. Of course, each would be inspired by her own glorious love story! And yet decades skipped by without a romance of her own. She rarely dated. No one kissed her or even held her hand. Turning 40 seemed to not only kill her dreams of marriage and family, but those of being a novelist as well.
Today, Sharyn still longs for her own love story but she’s discovered she’s not alone in the struggle to find balance between contentment and longing. In January, she co-founded GirlsNightIn40.com, a blog for single women. Her first two books — one a novel, the other nonfiction — about surviving singleness after 40 will release this summer. Full of honesty, humor and, yes, a little romance, these books offer encouragement to others going through similar circumstances.
In her spare time, Sharyn plays the piano, makes the best fudge ever, fights against unnecessary uses of the comma, and watches too much HGTV. She lives in Bellefontaine, Ohio, just five minutes from her favorite people in the world — her family.
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