WITH: What I Really Need Is to Be Alone Right Now. Or, Is It?


“I have shared bedrooms, beds, bathrooms, food, hand sanitizer and, in the most intimate of cases, a fork.”

By Ashley Mandanici | Twitter: @ashleymandanici

For the past four months  in Uganda I’ve lived in four different homes. Each home averaged between 6-10 people living in them. Those people have ranged between the ages of six through 40, and have been from the United States, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, England, Denmark, Uganda and beyond! I have shared bedrooms, beds, bathrooms, food, hand sanitizer and, in the most intimate of cases, a fork.

When I am not with my roommates, I am with taxi drivers and an obscene number of passengers. I am with hundreds of children in a village. I am with thousands of church go-ers. Sometimes I am on crowded streets with more people than I could possibly count. I have been “with” people a lot lately, and to be honest, I have been really craving some alone time.

It’s typically in the moments I’ve craved alone time that someone always seems to be around.

I remember waking up one morning and feeling absolutely overwhelmed. The day before I had said goodbye to my friend who’d been my “partner in crime” since I’d arrived in Uganda. I was missing my friend, unsure of how I was going to do without the safety of my friend, and to be honest–I was slightly over-tired. I was wishing I had my very own room so I could let out a good ugly cry, but I was sharing a room with another international volunteer. I was trying to mask any weepiness from my side of the room, but my emotions became too much to bare and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t hide my sniffles and whimpers from beneath my mosquito net.

It was in that moment I heard a gentle voice from across the room, “Ashley, are you okay?”

“… Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” – Ephesians 4:2

We didn’t really say much of anything to one another. I cried; she prayed, and that was about the end of it. By the time my little emotional breakdown was done, one thing was certain: I was really happy to be with someone.

I think that may be the reason God told us to “bear with one another.” God did not just encourage us to tolerate one another, or put up with one another, God told us to “bear with.” We are to support, hold up and sit on a bench with when you are freaking out a little.

God is always good that way. I kind of picture God to be like that Asian gentlemen on the bench in the video. God is with me quietly. He sneaks up next to me in the moment I want to be alone, smiles and reminds me that alone may not be what I truly need right now.


About Ashley:

My name is Ashley and I am the Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Relate Church in Surrey, B.C. My mission is to develop the God-given potential in every child who crosses my path *Insert Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” here*. I love all things jazzy, particularly music, and I tend to break into song throughout the day for no apparent reason. I blog here and tweet @AshleyMandanici


Photo credit: Jessica.Tam