I leave my outdoor lights on when I'm out late at night. They're welcoming to me when I return home. For over 5-1/2 years I've been pulling into my garage and head into my house, alone. Initially, when my sweetheart went to heaven (lucky/blessed guy), that was one of the harder things to get used to. No presence there welcoming me. But, I learned that feeling was a totally inaccurate.
Now, as I drive into my garage, these words ring loud and true for me...."You're not alone. You get to come home to Jesus."
In the moment, I mean that in the most literal way. I’m thinking of a the solace and sweet peace I am about to experience. Yes, I may be alone....but I am not lonely. That said, there is an important distinction to be established right off the bat. There is a world of difference between solitude and loneliness, though the two terms are often used interchangeably. Loneliness is a negative state, marked by a sense of isolation. Someone feels that something is missing. It is possible to be with people and still feel lonely—perhaps the most bitter form of loneliness.
Solitude is the state of being alone without being lonely. It is a positive way of appreciating ME. I have learned that my place of being alone is often where I find myself absolutely wonderful company. But, even more so, my aloneness and solitude is so incredibly heartwarming when I know that my Savior is there with me, watching over me, available to talk with, and He with me. He doesn't demand the remote control and His clothes take up too much room in the closet. He doesn't care what food I'm eating and doesn't mind if I stay up late, or turn in early. He is such a gentle and loving friend that He doesn't even mind if I don't talk to Him that much, but He sure is ready to talk when I give Him my full attention.
This place of refuge with Him is so peaceful and satisfying. It's something I cultivate and it replenishes my soul and weary body.
If I had chosen cultivating "loneliness" 5-1/2 years ago, it would have been a harsh punishment and I would have been so discontented and sad. I chose solitude and coming home to my best friend.
I open the door of my house and it seems to invite me in like an old friend. I remember again that I am loved, not because of what I do but because of Who I belong to. Home is where my heart is, and since I'm not at HOME in heaven yet, I’m learning this: Home is also Who’s within my heart AND my house. Yes, there's no place like home.D