The conversations you hear when you’re driving for a ride-share platform can give interesting insights into how people feel about being alone.
Last night, a young woman was talking to a young man in the backseat of my car. It was clear they had ditched their group to have some alone time together.
“I feel bad that we left Joe,” she said, “Joe will have to find his own ride home.”
“Nah, don’t worry about Joe,” the male replied, “He doesn’t mind going home by himself.”
I’m an extrovert and people like me really do NOT like going home alone, or at least, going home to be alone. Being alone is hard. Even for introverts (in a way that I can’t really understand completely) because introverts love having friends.
We’re all designed to be in community. I like to say that when I coach people in remote places, I’m “battling isolation.” But recently I read the intro to a book on isolation and realized that the author had found something beautiful in isolation. And that’s true, too.
But to really engage with isolation, we have to do that with purpose. Without a sense of purpose to our isolation not only do we accomplish very little during the isolated period, but we can turn to all sorts of false and twisted supplements to attempt to fill the void left by not having our community nearby.
Speaking for myself, isolation is easier to handle when I choose to disappear for a while so I can write. The hardest part of writing books may just be the intentional isolation required. I have a decent handle on that. The second thing is more important, and I’m not as good at it. That is the quest for God. The interesting thing is that we (people of the Book) say we believe that we’re made for this sort of community, to find and experience oneness with the Creator. Yet in practice we tend to be very bad at it, approaching isolation as a bad thing (which is still very much my initial reaction, usually.)
You have to be hungry for what you can get out of isolation and pursue it with purpose. If not, you walk into a dangerous desert filled with the scorpions of twisted desires.
Did Joe make it home alone? Did he mind? I don’t know. But we can guess.