My wife left me. Don’t stop reading and start rumors. We are still happily married after more than 42 years. She just went to visit her family in Mobile for a few days and is now back home. Hallelujah!

Things change significantly when Lena is not at home for a period of time. The routine of my days remain pretty much as they would if she was home, but the evenings are different.

We don’t have a set time for dinner and it is not a formal affair at our house on a daily basis. The atmosphere is casual and the food is usually not fancy but we sit at the table together and have conversation as we eat. Whether it is a tomato sandwich or Lena has prepared one of my favorite dishes, talking is at least as important as eating. I miss that when she is gone.

I don’t watch a lot of television but I do enjoy the various sporting events that are broadcast. I am a lucky man because my spouse is as much of a sports fan as I am (especially the Braves). We watch the Braves games regularly during the spring and summer months. The games are broadcast when Lena is away but watching them is not the same without her. I can still relax in my recliner and view the action but it is different when you are alone. If you shout, “Did you see that!” when McCann throws out a runner attempting to steal second base and there is nobody else at home, it is not the same.

I suspect Bill Withers had different circumstances in mind when he penned the words to “Ain’t No Sunshine” in 1971 but the lyrics fit when Lena goes away for a few days.

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone

It’s not warm when she’s away. 

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone

And she’s always gone too long

Anytime she goes away. 

I am grateful that I am not alone most of the time. I have been blessed for a long time with a loving wife who is my best friend. We have been together long enough that we don’t always have to talk a lot when we are together. Just knowing she is near is a great gift.

During this recent time of being home alone for a few days I thought a lot about people for whom that is an every day reality. The circumstances of their lives leave them without companionship many days and nights.

I know that we are never really alone. God is always with us but to have someone “with a face” is incredibly important. There is something significant about the ministry of presence- another human with whom we can converse or just  “be with.”

I am grateful for my marriage and the one who shares life with me. There is no other relationship that can compare. However, I suspect there are other persons with whom  I could be a friend and to whom I could offer conversation and companionship. I am sure there are persons who are lonely and just need to know someone cares. Someone with whom they could share joys, sorrows, and times of simply being together. I suspect that is true for each of us.

Jamie Jenkins