THE GLORY OF SOLITUDE
We have all been lonely. You may understand how one weary traveler felt as he sat alone on the edge of the bed in his motel room. He reached for the Gideon Bible in the drawer and opened it. Inside was a page that said, "If you are lonely and restless, read Psalm 23 and Psalm 27 in the Old Testament."
However not all aloneness is lonely. Theologian Paul Tillich put it this way: "Language... has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone."
Can you be alone without being lonely? Can you spend time by yourself without craving noise and stimulation? There is glory in solitude, it brings with it gifts that come from nowhere else.
Ardath Rodale has said, "We can find quiet places of solitude among the trees. In a grove of pine trees where the ground is covered by soft needles, I sometimes lie down and look up through the branches to see the blue sky. The tips of new pine growth shine in the sunlight. The smell of pine needles fills the air. As a soft wind blows, I realize that the whole branch sways in the breeze, but the needles shiver independently like one of Bertoia's musical chimes. I listen, but all is quiet. Trees say to each of us, "Give yourself time to listen to who you are."
Have you noticed that, in English, the word "listen" contains the same letters as the word "silent"? In order to truly listen to who we are, we must be silent. And in solitude, we will hear what can be heard no other way.
Have you discovered the glory of solitude?
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revised: March 07, 2017