I used to fear being alone. I remember clearly the first summer both of our boys got jobs. Ryan worked at a local golf course between eighth grade and freshman year and Shaun worked for a lake restoration project as a future sophomore. The house was quiet from seven until two in the afternoon.
While alone, I would wander around the house seeming much bigger and the quiet much quieter. The time seemed to advance more slowly. I could not focus on any one thing: reading, chores, gardening. When the phone rang I would sprint to answer it, anxious for the voice at the other end. Turning on the radio or the TV helped but was not the same.
Fast forward to today. The quiet is no longer frightening. I hear the mantle clock, the boiler, the birds outside, and my dog's quiet snore. I hear the sounds that were obscured many years ago when voices were absent for the first time. The sounds were always there but I didn't know how to hear them. Tick, tock, tick tock...the mantle clock has a beautiful beat. Snore, breath, snore breath...my dog adds a melody. Snap, snap, snap, hum...the boiler kicks in some percussion.
Being alone can be a good thing. There is time for reflection, rest, and noticing things that have been in the background. There is time to recharge and time to focus on jobs set aside in favor of a more social setting. Though I long for my husband's voice once again, being alone is now okay...in small doses.