"Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone."
~ Matthew 14:22-23
While Jesus seemed to be busy calling people to "follow me," along countryside roads and shorelines, the writers of the Gospels will also begin to note the times that Jesus, "Went off to pray."
One thing that we often forget is that even Jesus needed solitude. The time for self-care was important. It was a time when he simply went off to be alone and pray.
So often our lives can get so wrapped up in the events of the world, or a "to do" list, that we forget to simply breathe!
Because each of us are individually created, there is no one on this planet that is exactly like us. There is no one who acts like us, talks like us, thinks like us. In many ways, we are alone.
Years ago I was asked if I allow the aloneness I was feeling to become loneliness or solitude?
For me, loneliness is something I avoid. It somehow makes me feel desperate, or not secure. It invites an unhealthy woundedness to enter my life that somehow makes me feel weak, or vulnerable.
Solitude on the other hand, is more about building a relationship with myself, and with God. In many ways it is peaceful and enriching. It is a time when I can consider many things that I am experiencing and feeling and find the words to share with God and others what is going on with my life.
In many ways solitude allows us to create community.
Letting our aloneness grow into solitude and not into loneliness is a lifelong struggle. It requires choices about the community we will belong to. It helps us to decide how to pray, what to pray for, and when we need to reach out to others for advice.
Mostly it is solitude that helps us to respond to things in our lives and grow in love.
Hoping that you find a place of solitude this day in your life.
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.