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A view from the end of several wooden church pews in an old church

Hope Never Leaves Us Alone

Kristy Dodson
Kristy Dodson

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The pew felt extra long and very empty. I was at church by myself today. I parked and walked in. My mind decided I would just slide into the balcony and lay low. After all, I wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone. Some days I crave isolation. Today, I craved time with God but the irony of what he allowed me to notice held my attention for the day. Hope never leaves us alone.

By Herself

I have passed through this significant door many times. She was by herself as well. She reached first but struggled to open the impressive door. I offered help but her face told me she might’ve been struggling with more than I realize. There was no smile. Maybe she was visiting and felt unsure. I did not recognize her. She passed through the doorway and after a glance for a bulletin, she headed to the balcony empty-handed.

Moments of Silence

I made a split decision to sit downstairs. Maybe the comfort of my usual place was needed. There were more people in the sanctuary than in the past few weeks. The service was already beginning. Everyone was silent. My week longs for these few moments of silence. I chose the sunny side with stained glass reflections just a few pews up from where my sweet friends sit when the fear of sickness is not fresh.

Two stained glass windows in a church on the first day of advent hope

Alone

It is unnerving how you begin to think people are looking at you extra long when you are alone. I suppose they are doing what I find myself doing. Don’t we all makeup scenarios in our minds? Where is her husband? I wonder if he is sick. Maybe he is out of town. I hope he is okay. Regardless of reality, I feel like people are staring. The pew is a comfort as I settle in and become one of them.

I find Myself Wondering

As the service progressed, I couldn’t help but notice the many women who were there alone. Some, I know their story. Others, I find myself wondering and creating a narrative. I guess we all do it. Are we really ever alone?

There are many whose husbands have passed away. I notice them and cannot help but wonder if they feel lonely on Sunday mornings. Does the pew feel extra long and very empty for them too? My mind climbs upstairs to the balcony. Is the one I entered with still alone? I wonder about her missing smile.

Hope Never Leaves Us Alone

Like myself, others are alone for different reasons. Reasons I will never know. The reason does not matter. God just seemed to open my eyes to the number that sits alone. Maybe it was simply because I too was alone at church today. The pew felt extra long and very empty. But I know… hope never leaves us alone.

An open view of a meadow during late fall in Georgia.

We Cling To Hope

Today. The first Sunday of Advent. The day reserved for hope. We light the first of four candles. My heart focused on the many women who were alone. I began to pray for each one. I pray they have hope. There is a God so there is hope. Hope is real and we cling to it.

Hope Is Real

I parked and walked in, but I was never lonely.  Hope is real. It is available beyond the realms of Advent. It is for those sitting alone and those who have yet to experience an extra-long pew. Hope never leaves us alone.

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