"These are the [ones] who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts but do not have the Spirit. But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt."
~ Jude 19-22
Lately when I think of the word "isolation," I cannot help but also consider the word, "solitude" as well. Although the two words are synonymous, each of these words conjures up something different for me. Isolation seems to represent rejection or a detachment from something or someone. While solitude seems to represent a quality of being, which allows me to become focused, quiet and centered.
At this time in the world, we all seem to know a little something about the "isolation experience."
In many ways, I'm hoping that the time we are taking now will change us internally so that the external world will be altered when we once again step out into our communities. In many ways, I am reminded that by staying busy we tend to numb ourselves, rather than learn to transform our loneliness or isolation into solitude.
In many ways, we are being offered the perfect opportunity to withdraw from the world. When we live our life with the solitude of heart, we can listen with attention to the words and the situations of others.
I am reminded that God is faithful to empower the experience of isolation, and that God will bring each of us out of isolation as well.
We live in a world where we are constantly being pulled away from our internal world and forced to focus on our external world. But in solitude we can pay attention to our inner self. Our world is not divided between people who are isolated and those who live in solitude. Each of us fluctuate between the two. When we are finally able to recognize the difference between the two, we can then develop a sensitivity for what may seem like an inner valley of tension. We don't have to feel isolated or lonely and can begin to discern the direction that God is calling us to move. Indeed, loneliness can be transformed into the solitude of the heart.
How are you living today in this tension?
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain and ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.