This week I went up to my favorite spot past Arrow Rock dam for some solitude. Being fairly introverted, I spend plenty of time alone. Solitude is different. Solitude is where I slow down enough to show up in God’s presence, which is always in the present. Let me describe the experience and you decide if there’s anything you can relate to or want to experiment with.
I bought a bundle of firewood and loaded coats, blankets and a chair into my truck and drove to my spot. It was freezing! The temperature read 43 degrees, but the wind coming off the water made it much colder which I was fortunately prepared for. I built my fire, fussed with my blankets, ate my lunch and tried to read a bit. I didn’t realize at the time, but I spent the first hour and a half of my “solitude” being busy. I was “doing” all the things to be alone with God. It was after I ran out of things to do that I began to settle. I dozed off a couple times and watched the water. I closed my eyes and listened to the wind and trees...I was still. About the time I would normally become bored and pack up a thought occurred to me: just linger here a bit longer. It was not an audible voice, but I decided to sit there for a while. I didn’t experience anything. I didn’t hear God talking. I didn’t have any big epiphany or new clarity on life. I just lingered. Once the fire died out, I packed up my stuff and drove home. On the way home, there was a song that kept playing in my head: ”it is well...with my soul”. It dawned on me that it indeed was well with my soul. Something about stopping and lingering with my Father had filled and fed my soul in a way that doing never has and probably never will.
I don’t have a great grasp on the monastic reflective life. I am, however, learning the value of lingering in God’s presence. The Father wasn’t waiting for me next to the water, he was in me and around me waiting for me to sit long enough to be with him.
Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you think you’d be willing to try that kind of solitude?