Those of you who read regularly have probably heard a lot about my soul sister, Big Guy.
Yes, Big Guy is a girl.
No, it’s not really even a great story as to how she got that name.
Well, the natural order of things would have it that when her little sister joined us at college, she would thenceforth be called Little Guy. It is a fitting nickname, as she is a tiny nugget of a human. She is just barely allowed on rollercoasters, borrows clothes from my American Girl Doll, runs around on toes that are the size of cous cous, etc.
But what she lacks in stature, this girl sure makes up for in heart. In college, she would climb the hill to the apartment Big Guy and I shared, ice cream in tow, and dispense advice and back rubs. Maybe growing up in the Vermont mountains conditioned her tiny legs for the climb, or maybe she’s just that kindhearted, but Little Guy never seemed to tire of trekking up the hill to see us.
Over the years, I’ve seen Little Guy fight less tangible uphill battles and she tackles them all with the same determination and kindness that kept her coming up that hill to our apartment. She’s a scrappy little nugget and I’m proud to be a part of her corner, cheering her on. I couldn’t be more excited to give her opportunity to practice yet another one of her great gifts: her writing.
Rachael (which is what normal people call Little Guy) blogs over at http://icecreamforbreakfastblog.wordpress.com/ so check her out if you dig her style.
I often hear journey and I’m holding a Nintendo game controller. I’m tactfully navigating Princess Peach (myself) to the next level while acquiring as many gold coins, evading dangerous waters and my arch nemesis, Bowser. I am also alone.
I must tell you I played copious rounds of the word (or song) association game in my head using “journey.” It started out rough, but also aided in nailing what I think journey should, in part, mean for everyone.
I’ll show you how this game went:Shoes Pebbles Walking Stick “Just a small-town girl livin’ in a…” (for obvious reasons) Pilgrim’s Progress Bowser Obstacle Unexpected Deliverance Epiphany Rejection Alone Epiphany Rejection Alone Epiphany Etc… Alone? Yup.
From raw toddler status up until maybe a year ago, I thrived—no—I depended on the presence of others, namely the comfort of a simple affirming verbal exchange or even sharing in the silence, as long as someone was there. And ask my mom, I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere without begging her to pick me up.
I do still truly enjoy those things (maybe minus being carried everywhere). I still value human interaction above nearly everything and count all people in my life as a divine blessing. I still beg my roomies to forget their grocery run if it means they stay and watch Full House with me. But anyone dealing with this same inter-dependence theme may sense a subtle curiosity to find out what true solitude is. God didn’t make me curious, he threw me into solitude without swimmies.
I graduated college last May and it was a downright parodox. One day it was all pomp and circumstance and the next, I felt if I walked across that stage, I had the keys to Disney World. So I had a choice. In lieu of my vacant future ahead, I decided I should treat graduation like the keys to Disney World—magical and boundless. I had hoped and almost assumed that after nannying my favorite little boy and taking a month long trip to New Zealand, a steady job was coming my way and I’d be surrounded by great coworkers. I’d also get to spend plenty of time with roommates.
I successfully did three of those and I’ll leave you to guess which one I did not. But when your roommates all have steady jobs, the little boy only wants to hang out with his neighbor and you navigate much of New Zealand alone, this said, Disney World could very possibly be subpar—and lonely. Then, when you miss out on a job offer while you’re away? I’m not going to start with the utter disappointment and the many that followed.
Often in the form of strangers or supportive family or old friends who reappeared or the privilege of travelling alone, God kept nudging me.
Um, hello Daughter – have I ever let you down?
I could confidently answer no. My bank account disagreed. But little by little the Lord repeatedly allowed me to share my situation to anyone dealing with anxiety. It often sounded like this: “If you told ‘year-ago Rachael’ about her current disposition, she’d be in a state of utter panic.” On top of that, I’d be the Princess Peach pansy fearfully avoiding anything with potential for loneliness and failure. But take this Bowser! Take this gospel from Mark 1:35:
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
And in Matthew 6:6 as He’s telling us how to pray:
When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen.
He even urges us to spend time with Him using the greatest miracles, many of which happened when Elijah and Elisha were alone with God. He tells us through John the Baptist, alone in the desert before his going forth at the command of God. Then we all know Moses who encountered a burning bush, get this, alone with God.
While I was alone, I was forced to keep busy whether it was submitting 20 consecutive applications in one day or networking with academics and veteran journalists. After a series of upsets and realizing I could very well be let down for a year, or even five, I took the tranquility around me as a gentle invitation to converse with God. I love prayer and I always have but I often treated it like the very bed lamp I read under. Once I made my requests, I’d revisit my Savior back at the same place in 24 hours, as if we were catching up over coffee.
You weirdo, Rach! If you could see God you’d talk to Him all the time!
I think that’s true for a lot of people because we were very deliberately made to be relational beings. But who is to promise that these mammals are going to save us? My most recent epiphany was a mere realization that God was my breath, my confidant and my 24/7 solace because what/who else could be? And the panic I thought would set in was victoriously trounced by the power of His presence that soon became my oxygen. Then silence turned into a resounding clarity of His voice.
I even got lost in Boston on my first day of work (yes, work. Thank you Marri!) only to rest my forehead on my steering wheel in laughter. I knew my Father was playing a little joke—maybe a sick one—but I figured He had something up His sleeve just to entertain a conversation we missed earlier. It turns out no one expected me for a half day anyways. I have dreams about getting lost in the Sahara with nothing but a donkey and I laugh. Then my foal leads me to a nearby oasis with streams and waterslides, music and dancing, Michael Jackson, and cheddar cheese tables (many of my favorites things). I digress. Needless to say, solitude has helped me wipe worry from my daily routine.
Good gravy, enough about me. I truly mean it when I say that. It is solely and unequivocally and thankfully about HIM!
The best part? It’s that he wants and longs for intimacy with his children even with our garbage stinking up wherever we are. And we can go to Him freely without shame or fear. He’ll take our loneliness and our worries. He wants to erase them both. This quiet alliance I’ve found is the sweetest morsel of Heaven on a fleeting earth.