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Loneliness Imagined

In 1978, Jim Davis debuted one of the most beloved cartoons of all time – Garfield. Garfield is the original “Grumpy Cat.” When he’s not eating lasagna, he is sleeping, complaining, or pulling practical jokes on Odie, a fun-loving, but gullible, dog. Both Garfield and Odie belong to Jon Arbuckle, an awkward bachelor, who spends more time talking to his pets than he does to other humans.

For the most part, the three live together in a mundane, though relatively peaceful, existence. However, in October of 1989, Davis decided to press-pause on the light-hearted themes of Garfield to write a Halloween series that dealt with fear. Davis conducted an informal survey to find out what people are afraid of. The most common response was loneliness.

So, Davis crafted a comic in which Garfield wakes up to find that both Jon and Odie have deserted him. He is cold, hungry and utterly alone. He can’t believe they are gone. He begins to panic and finally, in his desperation, cries out, “I don’t want to be alone!”

The next frame cuts to Jon and Odie, breaking Garfield out of his daze by offering him breakfast. It had all been in his mind. Garfield, overcome with relief, throws himself on Jon and says, “Who needs it? I need you!”

The final frame is haunting. Davis writes, “An imagination is a powerful tool. It can tint memories of the past, shape perceptions of the present, or paint a future so vivid that it can entice… or terrify, all depending upon how we conduct ourselves today…”

Davis was onto something.

I wonder how often we feel – or imagine – we are alone, when, all along, there were people ready and waiting to know and love us. If only we would open our eyes and break from our daze.

I wonder how often we, who have been brought back into a relationship with God by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, forget that we are never alone. He has promised to be with us always – and God keeps His promises.

If you feel alone, know that you are not or, at least, you don't have to be. There is a God ready and waiting to know and love you, if only you would open your eyes and break from your daze.

And remember, an imagination is a powerful tool…

You can read the whole comic here.

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