Alone, Together

Somewhere deep inside my head, static crackled me out of a trance. The miles of Western Texas had lulled me to semi-comatose, and the roar of the high-warning winds left me isolated in my brain, even though I was wrapped around my husband on the back of his BMW motorcycle.


His voice coming over the headset inside my helmet might as well have been aliens—which I seriously wondered about, thinking I was hearing a crossed frequency in this empty, foreign land.

‘You good?’ his voice finally rooted me back to this reality. We tried to converse a bit about the moon-like landscape, the wind making us lean into it at a 20 degree angle. We attempted answers to ‘who would live here?’ when we passed the occasional old camper dropped in the middle of nothing. But when the wind covered even our speaker-to-ear connection, with the volume at the highest level, he would tap his helmet off, I’d hear the beep, and descend again into my alone world.

Except I wasn’t alone. Seven hours of silent retreat, I decided. I could pray. I could try this being quiet before God thing. Maybe I would hear His voice over the wind.

New Mexico

My husband and I enjoy road trips together. He’s my road warrior, doing most of our long distance driving, usually in a car. We found over the years a mutual enjoyment of the long periods of quiet. After going through the radio options, saying what needs to be said, we’d settle into our own thoughts in quiet content. Alone, together. A pause in the conversation that didn’t have to be filled out of insecurity, or lack of knowledge. A communication on a different level, beyond words. Sure, when we first met we’d talk for hours. But at times we love comfort of contentedness that doesn’t need anything.

My silent retreat with God didn’t start with my silence. Rather, like any child exposed to new, my words to Him flitted about to everything: awe of the massive sky, started prayers for each of my loved ones until I’d get distracted by one lone cow and I wondered how God kept her alive out here, thanks for the adventurous trip we got to go on, punctuated by panic prayers for protection as my man accelerated to pass, whisps of worship songs or memorized verses. But it all lapsed into forgetfulness.

It took a long time to get tired of myself and finally quit talking. I stilled. Did I listen, or just zone out? I know there was no voice coming through the statics. No reward stickers for having sat quietly. But there was the sense of peace. Joy, even, of being alone, together, as He watched me delight in a different part of His creativity. I felt the warmth of being in relationship where nothing has to be said.

They say people need quality time together. But I believe quality time is a myth. It can’t be forced, scheduled, pushed onto stage on cue. It has to be coaxed, earned, through quantity of time. One isn’t allowed the precious deep secrets till one has built up the trust of listening through all the labyrinth of thought. One can know much about a person, but it takes time and only time to know them.

And it is time we are most selfish with, for it is our life. We want to bill every moment spent; to set it on the scales and weigh it—time spent versus outcome—to judge its worth. But the value of relationship rarely shows on the scale when demanded. It frequently refuses to show its hand until the final call, when its most needed. It takes a lot of faith to keep dropping points into the opaque piggy bank. 

But drop in we must. See the hidden value we must.

‘Invest in what you love. Love what you invest in.’ The principle continues to ring true. The Lord spoke of our investment of our treasure, knowing we love where we place our money. If time is money, then it too can be a down payment. 

So, no. I didn’t receive any great revelation in the desert. But I want to do it again. 


4 thoughts on “Alone, Together

  1. Beautiful words. My husband and I rented a camper and went to NM, UT and AZ in April Yes, some desolate places. Of course I could say that about where we live in Texas. We had a great 2 week trip for our 50th anniversary.


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