I used to believe that being alone was the equivalent of being lonely. There was no way that loneliness could be a good thing, so if I spent more free time alone than in the company of people I cared about, I felt lonely. I didn’t like feeling lonely, so that led to my feeling depressed and angry.
Then I learned something important and surprising. Being alone doesn’t have to be the same thing as being lonely. Being isolated doesn’t have to be the same thing as choosing time alone. Even when I can’t get out of the house, I can choose to view my time alone as a gift.
I’m an introvert, so you wouldn’t expect this to be the revelation it was. I never realized that solitude would give me the chance to go more deeply within myself and learn things that I couldn’t when I was fighting my circumstances and feeling angry that my life had changed so radically from what I expected it to be. I didn’t realize that disability and chronic illness could be a gift. My time alone has been a gift. It has given me access to my creative self in a way I haven’t had in a really long time. I had forgotten so much about my love for words and understood even less. That love for words was a gift from God.
I am thankful for the gift of solitude. It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about people. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be a part of the community and love others. I am just grateful that I can be more of who I was created to be. I can use my creativity to help the world to be a better place, even if it’s just my little corner of it.