The Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
~ Psalm 23
We all have had moments where we have encountered loneliness. It happens to all of us at some point. Even folks who seem to be surrounded by people can find themselves being drawn in, or away, from what is happening.
I used to be afraid of being lonely. Oh, not for the lack of friends, or family, it was the idea of being alone. When my daughter moved away to college and I found myself downsizing from a home that had gone from having a lot of activity to just me and my dog, Sully, I encountered loneliness. I realized that it had been over twenty years since I had lived completely by myself. I don't know if I were more lonely or afraid!
It's like learning to love yourself. It's not always easy. I would find that I would leave the television on, or would be inviting friends to come over, because I simply didn't want to be alone. I wasn't necessarily comfortable with me.
It wasn't until about a year later that I started discovering that there were things about being alone that I grew to appreciate. If I didn't want to do the laundry that day, I didn't! If I didn't feel like going to the mailbox, or making my bed, I didn't! Now don't get me wrong, I didn't turn to a life of being a slob! Far from it! I still had my old habits of having things in their place!
I began to notice that my time with God was also changing. I discovered that in my solitude I was suddenly engaging God more in my thoughts and in my prayer life as well. I suddenly turned my prayers for some things into simple prayers of thanksgiving. For having the life that I was now living. That my children were becoming more independent and that they were discovering more of who and what it was that God wanted them to be.
I learned that being alone was going to mean that I was going to be okay. While I still experienced moments of loneliness I never felt as if I were alone.
So often the 23rd Psalm would remind me that even in my lonely times, "You are with me," seemed to become my mantra. Being reminded that I was still being brought to still waters and green meadows, even if they looked like the four walls of my apartment.
It's not the literal understanding of God being with us, it is the reminder of the spiritual presence that God has in our lives and that we are never left to ourselves.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2017
Just thinking, Lord
G. Todd Williams
Lord, last night I thought of You, and I began to wonder,
"Why do you always seem to hear me when I call?"
You are there, always giving;
You are always so willing
to hear my thoughts.
For how many ages,
has humanity turned Your creation inward,
producing emotions that tarnish that which was once pure?
How long will humanity look itself in the mirror
and continue to practice conditional love?
I know that all of humanity has been created
for YOUR purpose,
and for that reason,
You take the time to listen.
In moments when I find myself uneasy
being one of Your creation, within creation,
I lie awake, unable to sleep or find rest, searching my own heart
and hope to find peace in the silence.
What of this life I live do I share with others, Lord,
when those I love have closed their doors to me?
I know that I must trust in You to guide me
through this journey.
So many of Your creation once turned to me for answers,
but now I am that part of creation with only more questions for you, Lord.
I am seeking You, Lord, to answer the questions of my heart.
Lord, please shine Your light upon those requests, and for those whom once trusted in me,
Let ALL of YOUR creation find a greater joy,
that will go beyond the blessings which You so freely continue to give.
Lord, because I sense Your presence,
and I seem to hear You say,
"Peace, I am still near and with you always,"
I will accept this moment as a moment of peace.
For You alone, will provide a way for me. Amen.
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.