Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Loneliness…is generally understood as a negative state; of feeling sadness and isolation because one has a lack of connection with other people. The only way to combat loneliness is to step out, to reach out, even if we are afraid of rejection or disinterest. It’s not easy but it is the answer.
Solitude…is the state or situation of being alone, usually by choice and often experienced when in a serene environment. For some of us that means a log cabin in the Ontario wilderness. Others may cite rolling hills, calm waters, the hushed space of an art gallery or even a park bench on a downtown street.
The theologian Paul Tillich described the difference between the two in these words: “Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and Solitude expresses the glory of being alone.” Boundaries of Our Being( a collection of Tillich’s sermons)
Solitude can provide the time and freedom to initiate personal change: to reflect on our lives, to grieve, to let go of past hurts or unfulfilled dreams. It may offer the opportunity to use our imaginations, perhaps to express ourselves artistically or musically, to explore possibilities for the future. It can become a sacred pause, a ‘thin place’. It is then, in that stillness, that space, unfettered and uninterrupted, that we often hear God’s voice.
Aside: if you choose solitude or retreat time, and you are responsible for your own food, consider linking your meals to the tenor of your quiet time. Simplicity is the key. My cooler might include cheese, bread, butter, fresh figs, herbal tea, honey and wine. What would feed your body and soul?