I was alone a lot this summer. Our children were away at camp, my husband was in Vermont, in northeastern United States helping his parents, and I had the house to myself. What amazed me was that I wasn't lonesome even one minute.
I thought about the family with great love and wrote them cards and looked forward to their return, but I didn't feel lonely or uncompanioned.
It hasn't always been this way.
There was a time when I was lonely even though I had family all around. My first husband passed on when two of our daughters were very young. I moved with the children to be close to my family for the support they would be to a single mom raising two little girls. In fact, one of my brothers and his family lived just two houses away.
There was endless kindness and support from family and friends, but still, in the evenings when I'd gotten the children to bed and it was the time when I might normally have been with my husband, I felt isolated and cut off from the love that I needed. It was hard not to be jealous of other husbands and wives who were spending their evening together. I shed more than my share of tears on some of those evenings.
Finally one night it dawned on me that I did have a husband that I could be spending the evening with. I remembered a passage from the Bible and looked it up. "For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; the God of the whole earth shall he be called" (Isa. 54:5).
I'd known that comforting Bible verse for years, at least in theory, but the time had come to stop theorizing about God as my husband and actually to feel this fact tangibly, even intimately. But how, I wondered?
As I sat there, longing to know the presence of God more dearly, it occurred to me that when people develop an intimate relationship, they spend time together - they communicate, share their deepest thoughts, listen to each other, quietly cherish each other's presence. I could do this with God.
So, I got up from the couch and lit a fire in the fireplace. I got out my Bible and some of my favorite spiritual resource books, including "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy.
I sat quietly, basking in this opportunity to feel embraced in divine Love. Then I opened my Bible at random, asking for some indication of the nearness of God. I read: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness" (Isa. 41:10).
Nothing, and I do mean nothing, could have felt like a more tangible hug to me at that moment.
I felt so supported, cared for, and companioned. The sense of God as my husband was no longer a "sour grapes" kind of second-best arrangement for when all else fails. It was the best possible option - the starting point from which all good had always come and would always come. And the best thing about it was that it would never leave me for any reason.
Throughout that fall and into the winter, I spent many nights companioning with God. It cemented a relationship with God that has never left me. Later that spring I met a dear man whom I married the next December. We had another child several years later, and now I have two grandchildren.
The time to be alone is rare these days. I look forward to those times when I actually get to spend more quiet and intimate moments renewing my oneness with God. Now the challenge is not to lose the great peace and assurance of my oneness with God even in the busyness and hubbub of everyday activity. But I'm learning that God is always with us because each of us is held in God, the divine Principle and all-knowing Mind. For me, aloneness has come to mean all-oneness. So that intimate relationship with God is my oneness with all of God's children and is always there to turn to and bask in.
Whether you are living alone or in a crowd of people right now, this tender relationship with God is embracing you right now, too.