What does it take to experience true solitude?
For me, it was the fear that creeps in when you find yourself alone, outside in the dark, and far away from human contact. I experienced this while primitive camping by myself in the Texas Hill Country, where I saw almost no one for multiple days.
One evening, while hiking far from my campsite, I lost track of time and the sun began to set. As I made the long hike back in the dark, my confidence was slowly replaced by fear. The trek seemed to drag on forever as my mind played tricks on me, with the sounds of animals and nature keeping me on edge. I was constantly checking my surroundings, attempting to reassure myself there was nothing and no one lurking in the shadows or creeping up behind me.
With little to no cell service and no one around for miles, help seemed far away. It was just me, on my own.
This was my most intense experience being alone. However, as I noticed some light illuminating my path, I realized that the moon had come out, revealing itself from its hiding place among the clouds. I’ve never been so happy to see the moon, bright and glorious. It bathed me in its light, and in that moment, the moon felt like a friend, watching over me and letting me know that I wasn’t alone. Lighting up the darkness around me and in my mind. This reminded me of God’s presence in my life, and I realized that although I felt alone physically and mentally, I was not alone in spirit.
“… And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” — Matthew 28:20
I began to sing songs to the Lord, making me feel at home. I started repeating a phrase, reminding myself that I’m never alone because the Holy Spirit lives in me, Jesus Christ died for me, and God is watching over me.
“I’m not alone, bum bada da dada, I’m never alone, bum bada da dada, I’m never alone, bum bada da dada …cuz the Holy Spirit lives in me! …cuz Jesus Christ died for me …and God is watching over me!”
This little song became an anthem that I would sing whenever I found myself in a similar scenario. Here are some that come to mind:
Hiking miles alone in the dark, down the Dog Canyon Trail from the Lincoln National Forest in New Mexico. Hiking miles alone in the dark and snow, down the South Zapata Lake Trail from the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness in Colorado. Hiking miles alone in the dark and freezing cold, through moonlit slopes of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. This song, which I went on to finish and name “Never Alone,” has become a part of me, tied to all the adventures I’ve had traveling and being alone in remote nature locations. Now I want to share these experiences with you through that song.
Remember, if Christ lives in you, then no matter how you feel or where you go in this world, you’re never truly alone!