Thursday, August 27, 2015


Last week's gifts...
1886. Sitting on the couch together after Brooklyn and Tobin went to bed, knitting and reading (respectively)
1887. The new knit shop being pleased with how I used the yarn I bought
1888. A card-making night at Fellowship North, for the prayer team/card sending ministry
1889. Picking up breakfast at Beast for all of us with Brooklyn and Tobin, then meeting Adam after his class
1890. Getting to the post office before they closed
1891. Reconciliation
1892. An evening trail walk
1893. Tobin putting up with the sun hat - it kept the sun out of his eyes, but also kept him from being able to see past his own double chin
1894. Brooklyn eating her very own taco, and sharing her guacamole with Tobin (she was more excited about the arrangement than he was)
1895. Long-awaited pre-ordered books arriving in the mail
1896. UK pattern sales - I never know if I've sold any until the end of the month, and it's always a pleasant surprise
1897. A knit night at a knitting store - it's been awhile!
1898. Surviving a very long day
1899. A relaxing Adventure To An Undisclosed Location that I didn't have to plan
1900! A lovely visit over tea with a new mentor/friend
1901. Finding a tasty and (comparatively) inexpensive brand of gf cookies at Target
1902. Gorgeously cool evenings
1903. Sweet friends who send random and wholly unexpected notes of encouragement that arrive exactly when they're needed
1904. Adam having leave so that he could take off extra days to bracket a busy weekend
1905. Sharing our cookies-and-library tradition with Adam
1906. Convincing Tobin to go back to bed after he woke up at 5am and getting an afternoon nap myself - much needed rest

I've spent a lot of my life lonely - either due to my own tendencies or an unfortunate series of events that simply culminated in loneliness. That's caused some degree of angst, frustration, and depression.

But alone is a whole 'nother animal. As an introvert, alone time is how I recharge. Human contact drains my battery slowly and insidiously, and the only thing that will bring that little red bar back up to a full green one is solitude.

Understand that I do enjoy spending time with people. I love my husband, kids, and family - I relish interacting with local business owners - I like going to knit nights and church functions, be it a study or a class or a crafting session - I sought out a mentor last week who came to visit a few days ago and we spent a couple of hours talking and decided to make it a weekly thing, and I didn't regret a single click of the energy that that drained.

And yet... there comes a point (daily, if I'm honest, although it doesn't usually happen that often) at which, in order to maintain reasonable functionality and keep senseless snapping to a minimum, I need to spend some time alone. Journaling. Praying. Knitting. Maybe listening to a podcast or some music, or maybe reveling in glorious silence. A time that I can process everything I've thought or encountered over the course of the day that I wasn't able to adequately deal with at the time but was too important to just lay aside. A time to Be Still and not just pray "I need this thing and I need it right now" prayers, but to praise and adore and listen. A time to finish a whole thought, from beginning to end, without being diverted midway in order to avert a potential emergency (the baby who can't sit up on his own yet can somehow climb and requires a lot of rescuing and consolation).

Even now, I chose the deserted patio at our nearest coffee shop, preparing myself mentally and emotionally for a people-filled weekend. I'm grateful for the friendship that causes such things, and glad that loneliness is becoming less and less of a struggle - but I'm also grateful in this moment that I can be alone.

Blending One Thousand Gifts with Five Minute Friday - a weekly flashmob of bloggers that gather, internet-wide, to write for five minutes (no stopping, no editing) on a prompt provided by sweet Kate, then link up and share a little comment love. For more posts, more info, and/or to join in, head here!


Marisa S said...

You remind me so much of me!! A part of me will feel lonely, but I need to be alone in order to process and recharge. I am the person in the room who quietly observes and can do so for hours. There are times where I wish I had the party-girl type attitude where I could go out regularly and chat and what not, but I enjoy my family, I enjoy shopping and I enjoy my people online. Thanks for the post! I love how you are also putting in your 1000 gifts!

Mary Geisen said...

Your words could be written for me. As a fellow introvert, I need the alone time and after an evening or longer of being with people, I just need my own space and quiet. Thank you writing these words for all the introverts out there! Happy Friday!

Tara Ulrich said...

I am a fellow introvert as well. I love being with people. But I treasure my alone time too.

Andrew said...

I'm not an introvert...I'm an ascetic, someone whom people thought would wind up a monk (after a career that involved carefully applied violence, no less).

It made adjustment to marriage hard, and working as a teacher even of the nice things about being fatally ill is that I get to spend a lot of time by myself...well, me and 24 dogs and 2 cats and a turtle and God.

Here from FMF, #3

Patti Miinch said...

I love this post. Like you, I'm an introvert, and I need some alone time to recharge and to recover from being around people. But now I'm in a stage of my life -- widow and empty nester -- in which I'm alone far too much. I'm praying for less alone time, but for now . . . I'm trying to be joyful in my circumstances.

Sandy Burch said...

I love this post as well Sarah Jo. I have been the one who did not talk to big people. I am most comfortable with children. Children give me the boost I need to recharge. (especially when I hear a Bible truth come from them) I love pouring Jesus into them. The older I get the more exhausted I become as "Children Ministry Leader" It takes a lot of things to haul back and forth and the mental challenge of keeping the children safe from things and one another. So while I try not to be a grandma hog (lol) My grandchildren are like the breath I need to survive. I Loved when God blessed me with my two boys and I realize I should have let them have their alone time when they were small. Your post helps me to understand you better and I love you more for it dear one. Keep putting yourself out there because you are NEEDED in this world because all people NEED time alone to be with Jesus. Even Jesus made it his mission to get away from the crowds to recharge with his father.

Grantham Lynn said...

We all need time to recharge. This was well written. Thanks for sharing your heart.

annette @ a net in time said...

A FMF neighbour, you summed up the needs and desires of us introverts quite nicely. Thank you. :)

We all need to recharge, just in our own ways and that's a good thing.

Allows us to be part of the community God calls us to. with no regrets. :)

Diana said...

I am a #FMF snail mailer and loved your blog on the word alone. Blessings Diana

Janel said...

oh my goodness yes!
first of all i'm loving your combination of 1,000 gifts with the FMF. its great to read through both.
and man do i ever need to be alone to recharge. i have a sensory sensitivity so on top of being exhausted by interaction if there is loud noise and bright lights and such it makes me even more tired. I have thankfully learned to have time set aside to accomodate or to change plans according to my need to recharge. Growing up i had extroverted friends so it was difficult cause they always wanted to do and do with tons of people, and i love sometimes going out with a few people. it was a difficult way of interacting when we were so different but made it work. so thankful for your reflection. glad that you have special ways to recharge. i am learning what some ways that fill me up in this time of rest are for me.
Janel (