Lenten Reflection – First Sunday of Lent 2018: Alone

Mark 1:12 –  The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.

All of us, like Jesus, some time in our lives, are driven by the Holy Spirit to enter into a “desert” experience in our lives. I have never been in any country with desert. I have no way of knowing how it is to live in such a place. But I have experienced a “desert” period in my life; when I felt drained of energy, thirsting after something that would give me joy and life; surrounded by both “wild beasts” and “angels” and yet felt so alone and lonely. It was at that time that I contemplated about my life and about myself. I told myself, “This is not the kind of life I wanted to live; nor ever dreamed of. This is not even called living at all; it’s more like a zombie life. It is living in a rigid, monotonous and routine life; merely surviving. It is living in constant fear, fatigue, stress, sadness and loneliness.”

It was during those moments, when I was faced with the harshness of reality, that I questioned everything. I confronted reality and took a decision. I realized that I was all alone. I needed to take responsibility. I needed to stand strong and take actions all by myself. There were “wild beasts” meaning people around me that inflicted me pain and suffering, but there were also “angels” who were there and helped me grow and come out of this “desert” life. I’m grateful for both kinds of people.

I told a friend yesterday how important it is to be alone sometimes. It’s the time when you have to look into yourself and confront the truth about yourself; be authentic. It’s so easy to be somebody else or wear a mask when we are with other people. We have agendas, or ulterior motives, or we want to look good for others. But when we are alone, and there’s no one to please nor gain validation or approval, we only have ourselves. And who do we fool but ourselves? Why live in a lie when being truthful is more rewarding and fulfilling? So if you want to know yourself – then spend sometime with yourself, alone*.

*Know that you are not truly alone, because God is always with you no matter what. But i’s the feeling of being abandoned and stripped of everything. Just like Jesus shouted on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”