We continue to be physically distant from each other even by order of the government. And we are right to do so. As such, I am sure that many of you are settling in to a routine of some kind. For me at least, despite the increased workload, there is also an opportunity that has come upon me, and I wonder.
I wonder if this is God's opportunity to develop a spiritual discipline I have commonly left neglected: the discipline of solitude. Much has been written about it, and many have practiced it. But in our typical western 21st century world of hustle and bustle, it was forgotten. Until now. Now solitude has become a solution to slow the curve of Covid-19 cases. Can I encourage you to reframe or "reform" this time? I suspect the benefits will be vast.
Here is what Richard Foster has said about it: "God uses our experiences of solitude to enable us to become who we truly are. We begin, slowly at first, to live simply before God. Increasingly we come to see things in the light of eternity, and as a result, successes and failures no longer impress us or oppress us. Experiences of solitude root in us a deep, abiding hope; a hope that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good. In solitude we are so bathed in God’s greatness and goodness that we come to see the immense value of our own soul. The result is that we become increasingly freed from our frantic human strivings. In times of solitude, we become enveloped in God’s very presence."
And this from Thomas Merton: "It is in deep solitude that I find the gentleness with which I can truly love [others]…Solitude and silence teach me to love [others] for what they are, not for what they say."
Today and over the course of our isolation I encourage you to listen to God and enjoy His presence as best you can. Like all spiritual disciplines, this takes time to develop, of course. But it seems like we will be given such a time if the prognosticators on the news are correct.
Be well. I pray for all of you.