"Alone." Peace and quiet, or sadness and isolation? It probably depends on whether you've been surrounded by noisy children all day or left without friendship for longer than you'd like.
A man I know was terribly lonely after he was drafted into military service. There were a lot of people around, but he felt he had nothing in common with them. His friends and family were virtually out of reach for two long years.
My friend prayed. He was sure God hadn't left him in a bleak, empty, isolated situation. He trusted God's great goodness and power to heal his loneliness. A question and answer posed by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, came to his attention. "Would existence without personal friends be to you a blank? Then the time will come when you will be solitary, left without sympathy; but this seeming vacuum is already filled with divine Love" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 266).
He saw that as the child of God, who is infinite Spirit, he was actually surrounded by countless spiritual ideas that would inspire him and guide him. That no matter what the circumstance, he could confidently trust his heavenly Father to provide satisfying relationships. And that, in reality, God – ever loving, never absent – is everyone's original and ultimate companion.
He thought about these truths almost all the time. They became his companions, filling the "seeming vacuum," reassuring him of his oneness with God and His family.
This young man began to comprehend that our feelings about being alone have a lot to do with how we perceive God. Since God is All, He includes the whole of creation within His being. No exceptions. This inclusiveness has consequences for us: We can't be excluded from All. Prayer helps us feel our unity with divine Love, and we find we're never really alone.
At this time, a young woman he didn't know was having difficulty finding meaningful friendships. Although she was dating three men, she didn't feel a connection with any of them. Most social activities seemed empty to her.
So she also prayed, quietly leaving the dating scene to pursue a deeper understanding of her relationship with God. She, too, began to feel how tangible and tender a companion God is. It was the first time in years she'd felt content without a lot of friends around. A Bible verse affirmed, "God setteth the solitary in families" (Ps. 68:6). And a statement by Mrs. Eddy echoed this truth, asserting that man is not "an isolated, solitary idea, for he represents infinite Mind, the sum of all substance" (Science and Health, p. 259).
When these two people met, they were ready for each other – ready to recognize kindred creations of the same Maker, no longer needing a person to cure their loneliness. Without the old fears and longings, their relationship developed naturally and quickly. Four months later, they married – a marriage that is today 34 years strong and still growing.
Coincidence? No way. A solution that worked only for them? Not at all. If you or a friend are lonely, prayer will be a sure guide for you, too. Here are two ways to bring home the fact that each of us is in God's presence, under His care.
Think about God's goodness. Whatever is good comes from the eternal Father-Mother of us all. The love, harmony, mutual blessings, even humor, of family and friends are unquestionably good. They come from God. As God's sons and daughters, we express and experience these good things.
Think about God's power. It fills and undergirds God's allness and goodness. Nothing – no person, force, or situation – can defeat divine Spirit. God's omnipotence guarantees the reality and continuity of everything that's good, including friendship.
You are one with God, whose love is expressed in companionship just waiting to be discovered, right where you are. Prayer makes the discovery a promise.