Evelyn O. Shih

I love to be alone. All my work and hobbies are solitary ones, such as reading, writing, playing the piano, doing crossword puzzles, etc. On a recent day, however, I found it was not a pleasant experience when I was unexpectedly forced to be alone.

Last week I was stranded in Seattle because my plane was delayed and I missed the last flight to Hawaii for the day. I was put up in a hotel to stay overnight until I could catch a flight the next day. To make matters worse, one of my pieces of luggage was lost; the one with my journal containing the phone numbers of friends in the Seattle area.

There I was, with no local connection to friends, and nothing in the room belonged to me. Although the hotel had all the modern facilities, it seemed as though I had been thrown into a dungeon or exiled to a barren island. Alone, absolutely alone! Being separated from all the familiar people and surroundings, I felt that I had also lost my freedom.

Prasise the Lord, however, for nothing can separate His love with me. Since I knew that I could not catch the next flight, I prayed to Him for calmness and patience. I could only accept the situation which I was not able to change.

Then I prayed for wisdom to deal with this situation. As a result, I even began to sympathize with the airline. How could they make money if they had to make so many food and lodging arrangements just for one delayed flight?

Earlier, I had also prayed for physical strength to run around in the huge and complex airport to retrieve my one luggage and catch the shuttle to the hotel. After reaching the hotel room, I prayed for courage to eat my meal alone in a restaurant.

Finally, I began giving thanks in my prayers. Thank God that the flight was only delayed, not in any danger. Thank God for the lost luggage so I did not have to drag two suitcases around the airport. Even better, the suitcase with me held my sneakers, so I changed shoes right in the airport, making it even more comfortable to walk all over the airport.

Thank God this happened on my way home. If the plane was delayed on the way to my preaching post, many people would have been inconvenienced or might have even missed my work.

Thank God that I was alone, so I could decide everything without having to ask a companion’s opinion or listen to complaints. Seeing other people running around with elderly travelers and children in tow, I felt free and released.

Best of all, it was so sweet to be near God in my prayers of thanksgiving. Such a rare chance! There were no distractions at all, only God and me. I almost believed that this was not an accident which God allowed to happen; rather, it was his special arrangement of separating everything from me, just to be alone with Him.