Feb 7, 2009

Solitude

I have been reading many books of late. I love to learn and be inspired.

Listen to these amazing words, from The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen. I recommend this book, it is filled with jewels of wisdom.

"Solitude is the place of purification and transformation, the place of the great struggle and the great encounter... the place of our salvation."

"Compassion is the fruit of solitude and the basis of all ministry. The purification and transformation that take place in solitude manifest themselves in compassion."

In the past 19 years, I have been subjected to many times of solitude. Not necessarily because I chose to, or even wanted to, but because my circumstances put me there. Days and weeks of being confined to lonely hospital rooms, caring for my special needs child, opened the door for me to be confronted with solitude, face to face.

Now, especially after reading this book, I see what a gift it has been. One that I need to regularly embrace.

I remember being "stuck" as I saw it, in the lonely hospital room for days and weeks on end. I felt like I was living in a bubble, and the whole world was moving ahead, without me. Talk about confronting my pride, and need to be needed. Oh yes, solitude exposed this nasty lie.

I believe that solitude is a place where we are confronted with our significance. In solitude, no one sees us, no one hears us, no one speaks to us, but God alone.

Now looking back, I cherish those "difficult days" for they were the training ground for me to learn to hear and know His voice in a way that I had never known previously. Some days, I felt as though the whole room was overflowing with the tangible presence of God. It was in those moments that I came to discover, I was not alone. I became familiar with His voice, and it was enough, and all I ever really needed.

I have come to know that God will be with us, in solitude. He will wait for us, to surrender to His Lordship. He will speak words of kindness, that compel us to repent of our self-sufficiency, and He will speak words truth and wisdom help us stay on the path that He has purposed for us.

God, teach us to embrace you in solitude, away from the noise and influence of anyone or anything, but You. May we come from these places of solitude with a greater awareness of Your voice, Your purpose and Your compassion.

6 comments:

Holly said...

You express your heart so beautifully with words Cheryl. Thank you.

Tamatha said...

Wow! What a great post!:o)

Anonymous said...

I became very interested in your choice of words "confronted by solitude -face to face". Solitude and loneliness are very different things. Solitude comes in the presence of the father speaking into your hearts and minds.`In my life I have found that loneliness has brought me to a place of solitude OR despair. The choice really is mine. As long as I am reaching out in my loneliness in some way, allowing myself to be open to the presence of the Holy Spirit. It's when I have allowed my loneliness to sink into isolation that I get unhealthy.

From Dave Anthony

Cheryl said...

Dave - this is great insight. So much so that I would almost want to reword it.
You are so right, it is a choice. If we embrace Him in the loneliness it will turn into solitude with Him and Him speaking to our hearts and minds.
Thanks for expanding on the topic and helping to bring a greater insight.

Cheryl said...

Dave - this is great insight. So much so that I would almost want to reword it.
You are so right, it is a choice. If we embrace Him in the loneliness it will turn into solitude with Him and Him speaking to our hearts and minds.
Thanks for expanding on the topic and helping to bring a greater insight.

Dave said...

Good stuff. Solitude to me is best encountered at our cabin, but can also happen when I turn every thing off around me...the radio while I'm driving... the TV....etc. Silence is often deafening....until God speaks. Then it is true solitude. Thanks again Cheryl.