Much of life, for much of society, is done together.
Most people live with others, work with colleagues, eat together, play in teams.
Even online we are social creatures – interacting with our network of family, friends, clients and colleagues.
But it’s not the only way to live.
I live alone. And I like it.
I also like to work alone, to eat alone, to holiday alone.
As I get older, I’m enjoying my aloneness even more.
But I think for those who do life so constantly accompanied, they see aloneness as a failure.
By contrast, the bible speaks of times when aloneness was the only strategy to win.
Jesus would often spend time alone. And many of the highlights of his ministry were focused on loners – and those who approached him alone.
In 1 Samuel 17, one man, Goliath, had paralyzed an entire army with fear.
But even though the army was so defeated they weren’t even willing to fight, one man, David, was willing to fight – and convinced he could win.
Why did this unqualified shepherd boy think he could win when the professional warriors were terrified?
Because he’d been on his own. David had no back-up, no support, no encouragement.
In fact far from being supported, he’d been attacked – more than once.
And won. Alone.
It was these private victories against ferocious lions and bears that gave him the strategies, experience and self-esteem to take on ever greater challenges. And win. Alone.
The fact his family, the experts, and the leader didn’t think he could win and wanted to send him home, was just another battle he knew he could win.
And he did win.
Years later, in 2 Samuel 18, as a revered, respected and now well-supported King, this same man wants to join the army as they march out in another battle.
But he is rejected again. He is forced to be alone again.
Why? “you must not go out; if we are forced to flee, they won’t care about us. Even if half of us die, they won’t care; but you are worth ten thousand of us. It would be better now for you to give us support from the city.” (2 Samuel 18:3).
Now, they recognized that this man who didn’t warrant their support before was the best support they could possibly have. In fact, support provided by this one man was equal to that provided by ten thousand others!
Sure, sometimes, being alone is dangerous, selfish and self-destructive.
But it can also build the spirit of a winner, who knows how to build value and support others at such a high level that it’s worth ten thousand of the constantly accompanied ones who’ve never learnt to live alone and winning.