Remember the Home Alone movies? Yeah -- apparently that's not me. I HATE being home alone. Unfortunately, that's exactly my state right now, and whenever my wife has to work in Boston.
You see, I've never really lived alone, and I don't like doing it, even in short stints. When I was in college, I lived in the dorms, and once I graduated I moved into a 3 bedroom apartment with friends, and had roommates until I married my wife. Since then, thankfully, I have lived with her. Tonight, however, I can predict less than excellent sleep, as she's far away, and I'll probably be watching Food Network or reading American Jesus (which is an interesting cultural history, if you're interested in that sort of thing).
I get deeply introspective when I'm home alone -- thinking about my sins and shortcomings, and wondering why my life is the way it is -- home alone things. At my best moments these thoughts lead to prayer, confession, and a sense of reconciliation with God, after at least a brief alienation in the midst of my introspection.
Maybe that's why I don't like to be alone -- it reminds me of my most important relationship, and how weak that relationship with God can be. I might be odd for a 21st century American, but I think I'd prefer my guilt and shame in the company of other Christians, rather than in solitude and silence -- early Methodist Class Meetings appeal to me because of their spiritual accountability.
I guess even at these times when I'm alone with God because I can't be anything else, I fear that spiritual apathy might overtake me even in the midst of the silence. At my worst moments I feel like I'm still "Shackled by a heavy burden..." but at my best I can shout with the saints most dedicated to Christ that "He touched me and made me whole!" The thing is, there are days I probably couldn't tell you which was more true.
It's not that I don't want the deepest relationship with God possible, but that I'm too often either too scared or disinterested to take my own spiritual pulse. I think I'm probably scared more than disinterested, because I really do care, but the result is essentially the same. Not that I don't pray, dear readers, but sometimes I don't really pray with the intent of listening for clear and audible answers.
Right now, I'm thinking of a song I remember from my childhood: "Into the fiery furnace, they were there for fast... Nebuchadnezzer thought they'd never last... but God was there, he'd never let them go... Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego!" I think I'll go take my vitals, and see how things are... Whatever else I find, I know I'll find I'm not really home alone.