They stared at me, the strangers with no clue, some with pity, others with curiosity as to why I sat alone with no company to keep. They didn’t know that I had the strength to be alone.
The day had been hot, and the work harder than usual. I had walked to the pool to cool down my overheated body and relax my tired muscles. Along the way, I spied a turtle, steadily chomping on the young blades of grass that only late spring could offer. Many considered the growing grass a nuisance that needed mowing, while some enjoyed the greenery it provided after a dull and dark winter. To the turtle, though, it offered nourishment coupled with fresh liquid required for survival.
I smiled at the way the world worked and thanked God for the gentle reminder that all things carry a blessing. We just don’t always know who the blessing is for.
At the pool, I shared a few moments with friends who would be leaving to head home for the summer a few days after me. I had arrived later than usual, and they were getting ready to go for an early dinner. Not that I minded. I sank into the refreshing water and floated lazily for a few minutes before doing some laps, engaging my aching muscles to give them a stretch.
Once sated, I climbed from the pool and happily dove into the book I was reading. It hadn’t yet curled its gnarled fingers around my brain, so it was easy to pick up and put back down again. The good books drew me in and left me always wanting to continue until hours had passed and chores were left uncompleted. These books I saved for rainy days and sleepless nights.
Concentration was lost among the chirping of a dozen different birds. My gaze turned upward to watch the Osprey feeding its young. I caught one of the parents bringing back its prize, its catch dangling from sharp talons. A jay caught my eye as he chirped and called out. I wondered if it was their mate that the giant bird had snatched away. The cycle of life, complicated and messy at times, as we all fight for our survival.
I scanned the horizon and saw the vultures in the distance circling, waiting for the opportunity to dive and tear into their prey. They were a good bird to have around as they kept the roads clear of all that had been caught unaware and succumbed to the passing tin cans on wheels.
I realized that if I tripped or fell into the pool, or drowned due to some odd occurrence, no one would find me until the morrow. Mostly everyone had returned north, and there were only a few of us left. The vultures would have the same opportunity to feed off my body as they would any other dead animal, until they either drew the attention of another or I was found by the next person looking for relief in the pool. Shaking my head, I shrugged off the morbid thoughts that ran through my writer’s brain and returned to my book.
After a few chapters, I reluctantly rose and headed home. I didn’t see the turtle, so I expected she had returned to her underground haven away from the dangers and heat of the above-ground world. Again I thought of the parallels and how God made sure we always have access to a safe haven away from the dangers of the world. It is not a physical place, but rather an internal spiritual place, a place of prayer that brings us closer to our eternal sanctuary.
By the time I walked through my front door, I had already decided to go out to the local pizza joint, order a small pizza and do a bit of writing. It never occurred to me that I would recap the last few hours until I caught them looking at me, wondering what I was writing or why I was alone.
I smiled when their eyes met mine and chuckled to myself because they had no clue I was contemplating writing about them. Couples and groups of every size and shape out for feast and fun. Single men lined the bar, their eyes fixed on the various sports being played on large screens while drinking their brews. They, too, were alone, but there is something about a female that makes people speculate. Perhaps for us, it takes a special kind of strength to be alone, I can’t say. I’ve been alone for a long time and can’t say I give it much thought. I enjoy my solitude as much as my time with friends and family.
Perhaps the secret lies in the fact that I know I am never truly alone. I know that God walks with me on my journey, giving me strength when needed and even carrying me when I feel I can’t go on. He is my greatest source of strength and constant companion. I don’t give it much thought, nor do I believe it is odd, though I am sure there are some who know me that think so.
My pizza arrives, and I stop and give thanks for my meal and the amusement (and material) I find in strangers. Closing my iPad, I know my work is not over because I will observe as I eat, storing away movements, mannerisms, and moments to be used another day.
God is good, and I am blessed that He granted me a forum to pen my stories and release my thoughts. Life is good, and though the staring eyes may beg to differ, I smile in their direction, secretly knowing that it is God that gives me the strength to be alone.
If you liked this faith story, you can find others on the Faith Stories link of Leslie’s website.