In Solitude, In Activity: (from Out of Solitude)

“The careful balance between silence and words, withdrawal and involvement, distance and closeness, solitude and community forms the basis of the Christian life…”

This immediately makes me think of ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’, which my head translates as that the lack of something will make you notice it more. In a strange ‘head-jump’ this takes me to part of my PhD thesis, where I looked a VD posters, and what was missing tells us significant things as much as what is THERE:

“We note throughout that the assumed audience for these posters was a heterosexual one. In wartime homosexuality was illegal, and thus was not officially perceived to exist.”

Reading these messages is a cultural activity – because of the debates and (near?) normalisation of homosexuality – it’s more noticeable that it’s not in 1940s posters. Sometimes it takes a different cultural lens… or a change of time, to see through a message/action.

In our world there’s very little time for silence/stopping – I stopped for an hour yesterday (though I was relaxing with the TV/jelly-beans) – because I’d kind of reached my limit. For many years I have kept myself busy so I’ve not had to think, but much of that has been released, but I still haven’t really learnt to let go of my busy habits … though the fact that I’m chipping away at a backlog has to be progress right?!

In amongst all this busyness one moment in my life stands out always, to remind myself how important time to sit still is … in my round-the-world trip, I went to Doubtful Sound (New Zealand – Captain Cook saw it and was ‘doubtful’ if he would get out again) – where the boat was taken into a mirror lake, all engines shut off, and we stood and listened for about 5 minutes – and even silence isn’t completely silent – birds chirruping, water lapping, wind moving, etc.. I have used that, and my times with Brian Draper, to remind myself to slow down.

Preaching and Praying: Mark 1: 35-39. Well, there’s a powerful reminder that Jesus took time to rest & pray! And reminds me of the time that I used to run prayer mornings on Oak Hall  holidays, that God designed the world for 6 days of work, 1 day of rest – and that if we don’t rest, then God will force us to! I also wrote a piece on this for Bible Reflexions – and as you can see, I haven’t got it sorted – but as we were encouraged to think over the last couple of days – be thankful for the small things (aka the times I’ve managed to slow down!)

Prayer: To gain a taste for ‘solitude’ so that we can truly meet God.

Now – there’s an interesting distinction on Wikipedia:

Solitude is a state of seclusion or isolation, i.e., lack of contact with people. It may stem from bad relationships, deliberate choice, infectious disease, mental disorders, neurological disorders or circumstances of employment or situation (see castaway).

Short-term solitude is often valued as a time when one may work, think or rest without being disturbed. It may be desired for the sake of privacy.

A distinction has been made between solitude and loneliness. In this sense solitude is positive.

I’ve been talking about rest, but also there’s a sense of loneliness, which I think I’ve been struggling with sometimes in a new place… but that’s not what this seems to be talking about – time to listen to God, understand and respond. Now.. who was it that I was going to get to write a post for Big Bible on ‘finding God in the noise’.

Advent Action: Interesting – look back at active/solitude moments – assess how function under both conditions and seek to have a balance of both in our spiritual journey. [I think I’m finding quite a lot of ‘spiritual space’ in my new desire for swimming … ;-)]

Now – let me go and see what Pam’s said.

And there you go, I check an email and see what’s just come in:

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