Alone without being lonely

A Christian Science perspective: Healing ideas on overcoming loneliness.

There may be times in our lives when we find ourselves alone – times of our own choosing and other times when circumstances beyond our control dictate. But even if we find ourselves alone, we do not have to feel lonely.

I had an experience of separation from family and friends when I was first preparing to enter the military. I was living on the West Coast of the United States and needed to go to the East Coast for further education and training. Not only would I be a good distance from family and hometown friends, but there were also a variety of undetermined logistics surrounding the move, including where I would live.

As I prepared to depart my family, friends, and familiar surroundings, I went to God, divine Love, in prayer and acknowledged that He would always be with me every step of this new journey. My prayers carried a strong conviction because I knew that we are each God’s child, His image and likeness – His reflection, created spiritually, not materially (see Genesis 1:26, 27), and coexistent with God. Therefore, I could never be separated from Him. I would always be surrounded by His ever-present love, and He provides all that His children need.

As I moved and settled into my new situation, I realized that God was truly my best friend. I could always go to Him in prayer. There were times I found myself alone and yet did not feel lonely because I felt God’s loving presence and the spiritual qualities He imparts for us to companion with, such as joy, peace, and love. We are never truly separated from those we love; even when we are separated by miles, we can feel close to them in heart and mind. As time went on, relationships developed that gave me an expanded sense of family in addition to my parents and siblings back home. Also, I was comforted by a deeper certainty of God’s care for man. I found my days satisfying, fulfilling, and complete, and through prayer I was led to a place to live that was perfect for me, as well as to a great part-time job.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, writes: “Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment” (“Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896,” p. 307). And Christ Jesus’ example reassures us that God is our Father – our true Parent – and that He is ever present. In reality, we are all God’s children, His spiritual ideas, and so we can never be separated from His love and care – or from one another. This understanding helped me realize that we are not dependent upon material circumstances for true companionship.

These truths can support our prayers if we are ever tempted to feel lonely. We may find ourselves alone but can pray to feel God’s never-ending love, which He, as divine Love, is always imparting to us. Then we will feel these words of the Psalmist reflected in our hearts: “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Psalms 73:25).

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.