“…a solitary place…”

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And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. – Mark 1: 35

Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth! – Isaiah 5: 8

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 Ah! Solitude!  Space to breath. Room to think.  Time to complete a thought, and resolve a life-problem, without interruption.   Privacy to let the face  relax, and the body slump.  Freedom, for a moment, to just be –  without expectation or responsibility or obligation or compromise.  Freedom from someone else’s schedule, and someone else’s judgment. Freedom from another’s needs or wants – there will be time and space for that, too – later. But for now – there is this sacred time alone.  Just God (Life, Love, Truth) and me.

From as far back as I can remember I’ve enjoyed my time alone. When I was a youngster I really enjoyed wandering around the backyard on my own, climbing trees, swinging at the tetherball on its pole, and talking to myself – telling myself stories of wild horses, and war heroes who carried important messages over the mountains, and Indian princesses who lived in the forest and healed the wild creatures.  And if the neighbor kids happened to come over to play with me when I was in the middle of one of my stories, I had to work really hard to hide my disappointment.

Yeah, I was a weird kid.

And I’m probably an even weirder adult. 🙂

Somewhere in the teen years – that time in life when it seems the most important thing in the world is for everyone to see that you’re popular and liked and have a lot of friends – it became kind of embarrassing for me for people to ever see me alone.  I didn’t stop having my alone time, of course – but I didn’t want people to SEE that. I mean, they might think that I was alone because I didn’t have any friends – and – heaven forbid anyone should think I didn’t have friends!

And then there came a day when I realized – whoah! I can go sit out there on the brick wall in the sunshine and look at the Olympic Mountains – all clear and clean on the horizon – and eat my sandwich… all by myself!! And… I can drive myself up to the mountains and go skiing and hiking… all by myself!!!  And… I can go see that movie I’ve been wanting to see!!! And I don’t need to wait for other people to be ready, or available, or to have time in their schedule – I can do this ALL BY MYSELF!!!

Freedom. 🙂

I should probably make clear here that It’s not that I didn’t , or don’t, like people. I LOVE people – I love meeting new friends, laughing and hanging out with old friends, I love my neighbors, and I love my family – every single quirky one of ‘em  (the fruit really DOESN’T fall far from the tree).  But I really need my solitary time, too, and I don’t know how I would survive in a society where my solitary walks were taken from me, where I needed to be accompanied by someone else at all times, and where I couldn’t find a place of privacy for myself.  I’m not sure I’d be able to function.

I am so very grateful for places and times of solitude.

…when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. – Matthew 6: 6

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