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Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Value of Solitude

We are never alone. These words have often been used to give people assurance. They have become a curse in this day and time.

The drive to work was once a time of solitude but people have filled it with conversations on their cell phones. I can't help but wonder how many of these conversations are really necessary. Are people afraid of being alone with themselves? Do they need others to distract them? Why not relish a time when they can merely think?

I dodge high school students on their way to school as I ride my bicycle each morning. Their heads are down as they are texting other students. They aren't having conversations with others who walk beside them. Why not engage live persons if there is a need for conversation? Why not walk in silence so that there is a calm before the storm of another day in high school?

Is this a product of day cares? Have so many children been thrust with others at such a young age that they are afraid of being alone when they get older? Does anyone know what to do as he or she gets older?

I grew up on a farm without other children living nearby. I am seven years older than my nearest sibling. I played for hours without other children. I made up games and had imaginary playmates. I loved to travel into town and play with others. I looked forward to every friend who was invited out to the farm for the day. Yet, even today I enjoy my solitude.

I sometimes believe that each church member believes he or she is the only one having a crisis the day they call. They do not understand that I sometimes am being called on my cell phone as the church land line is ringing. They don't understand that by coming over to visit them I am neglecting those others who are also demanding my time. There is nothing evil in all this. There is just a lack of understanding. My whole day can easily be filled meeting the needs of people. This is why I set aside time for solitude.

I come to work each day long before anyone else arrives. The phone does not ring and no one seeks counseling or an answer to their needs. I come to read my Bible and pray. I am not preparing a sermon. I am just seeking the Lord alone. There is no agenda.

Many people know I am here early. They believe I am a "morning" person. There is nothing farther from the truth. I hate getting up early. I would stay up until two and get up at ten if I did what I wanted. No, I need the time of solitude before the day begins. I need to have my personal conversations with the Lord without being rushed. I need to hear Him speak to me.

My time alone is extremely valuable to me. It sets my world in order. It allows me to step back and see things I would never have seen while in the middle of the day's battle. It calms me before I face the day's challenges.

Jesus took time to be alone. Does that mean that we need solitude if He needed solitude?

I think so.

Mark 1:35 (NIV)
35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

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