Lonely places offer themselves up to us when we need them most. That’s been my experience, anyway.
My parents divorced when I was eight years old. My mom, my sister, and I moved to a smaller home in a neighborhood I didn’t know all that well. And when a kid befriended me and took me to a secret fort inside of some bushes a couple of blocks from my new home, it became my lonely place — the place I could crawl into and nobody could see me. I could think, dream, relax, and frankly, hide from the rest of the world whenever I needed to.
The summer before I started high school, my lonely place was behind my former grade school. I hit a tennis ball against the brick wall back there thousands of times in preparation for upcoming tennis team tryouts.
I had no way of knowing I wouldn’t really need to try out. My high school didn’t have a good tennis team. The coach usually just needed willing participants. I’m glad I didn’t know that, though. The work I put in behind that school was worth it. It was long, hard, sweaty work, but it made me better in every way.
Five or six years ago, a friend invited me out to central Nebraska for a fishing excursion over Memorial Day weekend. He had just purchased a small cabin in the woods and I loved everything about the place. Well, expect for the lack of running water, the lack of electricity, and the outhouse. Don’t get me started on the outhouse.
You could take maybe fifty steps from the cabin and arrive at the fishing hole you see pictured above. The water was always calm. The trees offered ample shade. And we always caught fish, which is as close to a miracle as possible, given our lack of fishing success elsewhere.
My buddy sold that little piece of paradise recently, so I’m looking for a new lonely place. But in reality, I expect it to find me, if I keep my eyes open.
The thing about lonely places is, they are lonely in the best possible way — free from distraction, free from judgment, and free from expectation. You just show up and it begins to refresh you. Then you think about the Creator of such a place and a sense of wonder and connection with Him washes over you. That’s hard to find anyplace else. And you are just grateful that you are there.