"I felt closer to my fellow men, too, even in my solitude. For it is not physical solitude that actually separates one from other men, not physical isolation, but spiritual isolation. It is not the desert island nor the stony wilderness that cutes you from the people you love. It is the wilderness of the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wanders lost and a stranger. When one is a stranger to oneself then one is estranged from others too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others."
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea
"Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong."
I've been thinking a lot about solitude lately, mostly because the subject keeps popping up in nearly everything I read. Even the fiction book I'm reading, The Light Between Oceans, is about solitude, about a lighthouse keeper and his wife living alone on a tiny island.
And, you know, as an introvert I'm all about spending time alone. That's my happy place. But I think that true solitude is about more than that; it means stilling your heart and mind more than (or along with) your physical surroundings. I spend a lot of time alone, but I've only recently started making it more purposeful.
I'm trying to intentionally seek out quiet time in which I simply sit and listen. This is something that's always been hard for me, just sitting there, waiting. What was the point, I thought, when I can't hear Him speak?
But now I'm finding that, even though I don't necessarily hear Him speak in those minutes of silence, it somehow opens up my heart to hear Him at unexpected moments as I go about my day. Maybe that's what it's about, giving Him room to come on in.
I want to continue to explore this solitude thing more. Make it a way of life. Because being alone in and of itself is not life giving. I can be constantly check my phone, flitting aimlessly from one project to another, not really settled in my spirit. But true solitude is a stillness of the heart, a peace that gives the day meaning, intention, and a sense of awareness of what really matters. An openness to God and to people.