Alone is not the same as lonely.

Lonely is a state in which I look to you to meet my needs and find myself frustrated by your constant failure to satisfy.

Lonely means I expect you to fill that empty part of myself that lurks always at the edges of my consciousness; I need you to be a certain way so I can feel a certain way. I have demands and longings I am looking to you to satisfy. Lonely means you have not measured up to my expectations. You have failed to make me feel good about myself. I come away from our relationship feeling empty, unsatisfied, and frustrated by my life. I feel lonely.

Alone, unlike lonely, is simply the reality of the human condition. It is just the way things are. I am alone; you are alone.

Alone means I understand that you were not put here on this earth to meet my needs. There is no person who can ever satisfy the most profound longings of my heart. Alone is the truth of the human condition.

Alone is the ground in which love is born, because when I am able to be alone, I set you free to be utterly the person you are with no need to conform yourself to my needs, wants, and desires. I do not need you to fix me or to satisfy my desires; I can  be alone.

This is the reason Jesus uttered the shocking words that,

Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)

Jesus asks us to face and enter into the reality of our aloneness with honesty and courage. He is guiding us to the place where we acknowledge that there is no relationship that can take precedence over the inner relationship we are called into by God with the invisible mystical reality of that Presence who is our source and our ultimate destiny.

There is no ground upon which we can stand in this visible material realm that is not shifting and uncertain. I will always let you down. There is no human relationship that will not at some point, or in some way, fail to satisfy any needs I impose upon our relationship.

We are created to function finally in a realm that is more real, more lasting, and more profound even than our most authentic tender intimate personal relationships. Human intimacy can be a wonderful gift and a profound blessing. But we human beings were created for something deeper, richer and more lasting than the passing gift of human intimacy.

When we depend upon human intimacy, believing the illusion that there is a human relationship in this world that can satisfy our deepest longings, we settle for less than our true calling to find our true being in the profound presence of the Divine living at the heart of our lives.

Jesus walked again and again, into the centre of his aloneness.

When evening came, the boat was out on the lake, and he was alone on the land. (Mark 6:47)

after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone. (Matthew 14:23)

We need to share the courage of Jesus and stand in the reality of our aloneness, to enter into the centre of our being where we know that God alone dwells in all fullness and beauty.