Black Balsam’s Knob- Pisgah Forest
Did you know that solitude has been considered a spiritual discipline for quite some time now?
And to think most of us consider solitude to be a priced possession. One minute without the kids at your heels. A whole hour when the phone is not ringing with business. An uninterrupted lunch break. You name it and claim those in between moments.
I’ve been hiding away for the past few days. I was uneasy about making this trip alone. I was torn because I was desiring some companionship. Not only desiring it but feeling like it may be something I was needing.
However I was craving adventure, the kind that I semi plan and semi just fall into. Needless to say, much of my time has been spent in solitude.
I’ve been watching Holy Spirit fill gaps that need filling and leaving space for some breathing room.
What I’ve found is solitude feeds the discipline of prayer. Prayer being both listening and speaking.
Solitude enhances my hearing. And hearing makes me hungry for more.
It’s hard to fit solitude into our busy fast paced culture.
I believe there is a gate to solitude that many people never make it in through, even though they set out to.
At the gate of solitude there are travelers’ packs, weapons, walking sticks, and even some shoes. At the gate of solitude we are invited to take off our armor and for the brave, our self-sufficiency. Many turn and walk away clinging to their possessions broken-hearted they could not enter without them. It’s a shedding of pride and defensiveness at the gate. But for those who leave their belongings, accepting the invitation to enter, they themselves are sending out their own invitation. “Come do what you want to do. Here I am. Listening. Waiting.”
These past couple of months have been far from boring. Yet they have been like eating stale bread that once was sweet. Don’t get me wrong lots of challenges have yielded growth or other things. But that is how us Americans can understand things…if there was progress then not all is lost. That is so ingrained in my being that I struggle to pull away from that definition of success or victory or whatever it may be.
Much of the staleness has come from my own tunnel vision and strong rising anxieties. This week, I am taking a break from the norm in hopes of getting my bearings a bit. Emphasis on MY because I am very different than you. Im traveling to a familiar place and a couple not so familiar places. I picked up The Hobbit to throw in my bag for my trip (Im barely ankle deep in the book currently) and I was hit with my own reality.
Here in my hole in the ground I have lived the past few months with my comforts (though things have been lacking in true comfort). But as I live in my comforts my anxiety overshadows and work has lingered like a demon who’s broke through the boundaries. Deeply Ive burrowed into work, and who knows what else for right now I cant even recall. This is a good place to say, Im in no way saying what has transpired was “wrong” for it was a time I needed to buckle down and get shit done. But how I handled it is a different story.
And now. Im out on an adventure, one my soul has been yearning for for months now. But if Im honest, it was hard to leave without a level of insecurity–a looking back and wondering if I was crazy to set out on an adventure. I caught myself and thought it rather funny because who I am, is a person ready for a good adventure.
Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pinetrees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick.
-J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
So here I go to find treasures, swords, and to have interesting encounters with people like me and others with an unfamiliar flare.
Peace be with you, and adventure too!