I’m becoming quite used to solitude. As a newly-wed in a new state with one car to serve the two of us and a husband who is working about 50 hours a week… life can be overwhelmingly, disappointingly quiet. My biggest challenge over the past month has been to learn to use the isolation for more then just sleeping and browsing Instagram. Rather, I have been discovering how to occupy my time to live intentionally and thankfully, productively and fruitfully.
Trying to figure out what my ‘niche’ is and what I enjoy doing by myself (that’s worth something) is frustrating. I already knew what my niche was- an actress, a friend, loving people. My question turned from “What can I do during the day” to “How can I love people when I can’t even see them on a regular basis?”
This question has inserted itself to my core, pushing into my prayers and heart. But I’ve come to realize that although people and theatre may be my first passion, there is a season for everything. Even if I can’t impact people directly, or pursue fully other desires, I can take time to prepare myself and discover new ways to let my passions out, new ways to grow and round myself out as a person.
So I started started stretching myself. I’ve been seeking out and pursuing activities I’ve always wanted to do, but never had time to do. Refurbishing furniture. Photography. Creating designs and wall-art. Brewing Teas. As it is with all new activities, I’ve been learning from mistakes. Some things need to be sanded before you re-paint them, details actually do matter, and it’s better to give it your best first rather then a lazy job and hurried edit. I also have been expanding the talents I already had by organizing my songs and monologues, preparing and practicing for the day I can step onto the audition floor again.
I started educating myself. I can’t claim to love people and want to be a light if I don’t even learn what their needs are. I’m discovering the area around me, this place that now is my home. Finding out which part of the cities surrounding me are the worst, what the options are for abused children and mothers, where I can donate my time whenever possible. Knowing where I am called to love and work is an essential step for outreach- and one I would have missed if I didn’t take the time to discover the needs of my community.
I started renewing myself. As a people-person, I’ve rarely before given myself time to actually focus on myself and my Savior. Spending time every morning in the Word and in prayer has been such a blessing, one only I could give for myself. He is the core of my passions, of my love, of my life. Renewing myself personally means reflecting, writing, and discovering. It means learning how to love completely and flawlessly, despite how many times I’ve failed. He is the greatest teacher for all my desires, my greatest teacher for loving. This time of renewal has become such a crucial part of my life. It brings the joy and motivation for my silent, isolated day that otherwise I would not be able to find.
I started doing. Even if I can’t volunteer to help the most hurt of the hurt right now, I can effect the people around me if even in the smallest of ways. Every day I’ve had to evaluate how I treat and love the people around me, if I know them or not. My neighbors. The landlord. Extended family. Complete strangers I pass by. Though I am no Jesus, doing what I love – loving – even when there is nobody ‘worth’ loving prepares me to love people who have never even seen it before. Most importantly, I’ve had to evaluate how I treat my most treasured earthly love- my husband. Who am I to love others if I don’t even practice love to the man I promised myself to? Discovering how to love him I can say without a doubt is now my greatest joy and passion. It’s awesome that despite how I may fail, love covers up the scrapes and bumps and rebuilds.
My days are quiet, and so often lonely. Sometimes they are frustrating, usually they are wistful. They are always filled with several cups of tea and acoustic music to keep me company. But I am revising myself, and learning how to love outside my perceptions of it. I’ve been learning how to thrive in a peaceful yet very not-me environment. It’s been hard, it’s been patience-building, but ultimately, it’s been so rewarding.