Where Did Everyone Go?

Sooner or later, in most everyone’s life, there comes a time when you take a look around, and say, “Where did everyone go?”

As one ages, we lose friends and family via death, sometimes expected, and sometimes unexpected.  At other times friends and family move away, sometimes to other parts of the country, and sometimes to other parts of the world.

And, finally, some depart through misunderstandings, hurt feelings, cross purposes, different goals, or other reasons.

Regardless of the reasons for leaving, there can be times when you feel all alone.  The truth is generally a bit more complicated than that, and often we are not really alone, but the keyword here is ‘feel’, which makes it very real.

One of the stranger pieces of advice I got from my father upon leaving home at the age of 17 was, “Son, just remember, even in a crowd one can feel alone.”  At the time I didn’t pay much attention, but it has come back to me from time to time over the years.

As depressing as this topic may seem, it is actually scriptural, and based on many, many Biblical examples.  A short survey, incomplete as it is, would show that the following individuals experienced what it was like to be ‘alone’:

  • Jacob
  • Joseph
  • Moses
  • Elijah
  • David
  • Jeremiah
  • Daniel

But, this experience is not limited to those living in Old Testament times, but the following folks are also acquainted with what it feels like to be alone:

  • Peter
  • Stephen
  • Paul
  • John
  • and, yes, Jesus

This feeling and experience is not limited to those who are poor, but reaches to those who are rich, famous, and popular, too.  In fact, the one thing we can say about the experience of ‘feeling alone’, is it is a uniquely human experience.  We can also say it is not unusual or an indicator of anything wrong.  It is part of the human experience, and not something God is unfamiliar with.

Sometimes we feel alone when nothing is happening, but there are times when we may feel alone in places of stress and pressure.  The latter is more common with leaders and positions of great responsibility, but can also happen in almost any human situation or setting.  You don’t have to be a national leader to be under pressure, just ask any mother.

But, sometimes, how we feel, and what is reality, are two different things.  We may, at times, feel as if all of our friends have left us, but reality may show that they haven’t really left at all.  Let me give you a silly example to show that how we feel and reality may be very different:

Mom has gone to great lengths and difficulty to find the right foods, preparation, cooking, and serving to make dinner ‘special’ for her family.  And, yes, the family enjoys it, but do they thank her for it?  Probably not.  Why?  Well, it’s just another meal, isn’t it?  And Mom always cooks dinner, so why should anyone say anything about it?  But, Mom, given a moment to reflect, may think, “I guess no one really cares.  If they cared wouldn’t they say something?”  This is the difference between how we feel and reality.  Mom feels like no one cares, but that is not really the truth.  People do care, and they appreciate what Mom has done, but it is probably not the highest thing on their list of important things to get done for the day, to say ‘Thank you, Mom, for that great meal’.  Are they being careless and not paying attention?  No, they are being human.  And us humans don’t always pay attention to all the things that, perhaps, we should.  But, even with this simple example, hopefully, you can see that what we experience and feel, may differ from reality.

When a person goes through a significant trial, whether it be a trial in the physical, financial, mental, or spiritual, it is common for the person to feel as if no one is interested in their crisis.  If they cared, they would at least talk to me about it, right?  No.  Not always.  Often people don’t engage people going through a crisis because:

  1. They’re afraid of saying the wrong thing and making it worse
  2. They don’t know what to say
  3. They’re afraid if they bring up the subject it may cause additional harm
  4. They feel helpless to aid your situation

So, they typically do nothing, which leads the person going through the crisis to believe that no one cares, when, in fact, people do care, but they mostly do not know what to do or say.

My experience has shown that at times when I felt alone, there were people still involved with me, working on my behalf, plans being made, that I was completely unaware of at the time.  This has led me to believe that at times when one feels alone, it may only partially be true, or even totally untrue.  It’s simply how we ‘feel’, and not reality.  Is there a Bible example?  Yes, and more than one.  Elijah poured out his complaint to God, claiming that he was the only one in Israel that had any desire to serve God.  What was God’s answer?  He had 7,000 faithful servants who had not bowed to Baal.  So, while Elijah felt all alone, there were, in fact, 7,000 servants of God he was not aware of.  Feeling – all alone.  Reality – 7,000.  See the distance between ‘feeling’ and ‘reality’?

We, finally, have the assurance that while we may at times feel alone, we are not alone, for He has said He would never leave us or forsake us.

 

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One Response to “Where Did Everyone Go?”

  1. Barbara McGuire Says:

    Great blog and great insight! It’s always good to be reminded that we are never alone. You brought out some great points! As always, thank you for the blessing and inspiration you are. Love to your family!

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