An Encouraging Word — Enjoying oneself

Father J. Ronald Knott
Father J. Ronald Knott

He went off by himself to a deserted place. Mark 1:5

Do you know the first thing human beings said to God?

According to Genesis, the first thing we said to God was: “I was afraid.” The word “afraid” appears many, many times in the Bible, most of the time along with the command, “Do not be afraid.”

If fear is mentioned so many times in the Bible, then it must be a serious human problem. Well, as I was surfing the web looking for information about fear I stumbled onto a list of phobias or fears. The list was 14 pages long — 10 point type, single spaced.

There were the humorous fears, such as arachibutyrophobia (fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth), cacophobia (fear of ugliness), chorophobia (fear of dancing), consecotaleophobia (fear of chopsticks), ephebiphobia (fear of teenagers) and linonophobia (fear of string).

There were understandable fears, such as homilophobia (fear of sermons), gerascophobia (fear of growing old) and syngenescophobia (fear of relatives).

There were the absolutely irrational fears, such as xanthophobia (fear of the color yellow), pteronophobia (fear of being tickled by feathers), peladophobia (fear of bald people) and hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia (fear of long words).

As one who lives alone and likes it, I was amazed at how many fears were listed related to fear of being alone. There was eremophobia (fear of loneliness), anuptaphobia (fear of staying single), autophobia (fear of being by oneself), monophobia (fear of being alone) and isolophobia (fear of solitude), to name a few.

I do not understand people who do not enjoy being by themselves for long periods of time. I always laugh to myself when people “pity” me as if not being married and living alone translates into “pathetic.” I certainly enjoy being around people, but I actually enjoy my own company as well.

I worked through the pain of the loneliness in living alone when I was stationed in the home mission of southern Kentucky, especially from 1975 to 1980 when I lived in a church basement by myself. At first, because I had never lived alone since I was born, it was almost maddening.

Today, when I am entirely alone and in good health and a good mood, it is on such occasions that my ideas for writing flow best and most abundantly. There is great freedom that comes from being comfortable in one’s own presence for long periods of time. There is no better way to get to know yourself than in spending long hours with yourself.

People often confuse loneliness with solitude. We use the word “loneliness” to describe the pain of being alone and we use the word “solitude” to describe the joy and pleasure of being alone.

Loneliness is painful. Solitude is bliss. One has to work through the pain of loneliness to reach the bliss of solitude. Many never know the bliss of solitude because they seek to run from or numb loneliness too soon.

To read more from Father Knott, visit his new blog:

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