RSC – 0730

Henri J.M. Nouwen 

There was no unanimous agreement on the need or attractiveness for solitude. The most entertainment comment got to be “If day dreaming is considered solitude the in have been spending too much time in solitude.” Funny it may have been, yet it reflected a reality that we indeed may have been spending too much time in an illusion. 

I think the need for solitude in one way is really based on our perception of reality. An example I used was from the movie “Poseidon”. After the ship hit a storm, it was flipped over without the survivor knowing. They were divided concerning the escape route. One group wanted to go “up” (in reality was “down”). The other group wanted to go “down” (which in reality was “up”). Ended up the apparently “down” and thus “wrong” group was “right”. So all the world is telling us we got it all wrong. They are saying success means money, sex and power. Yet we say power is in weakness and in Christ. If we acknowledge the reality of Christ I think we need to set time aside for Him alone.  

Being alone is not solitude. I believe only time set aside as in the way the Sabbath was set aside can be considered solitude. By using the Sabbath comparison further I also believe solitude is part of the pathway to holiness as in the Hebraic meaning of setting apart.  

So what do we do in solitude? Do nothing? How do we do nothing?  Some one shared that devotion in the morning was great but then God kind of got tuned out for the rest of the day. I think this is so true and I think that is why we not only need a morning devotion we need daily office similar to the monastic tradition. Actually I think people in the marketplace need the monastic office so much more than the monk because they face so much temptation that they need it so much more than the monks.  

Another aspect worth noting is that do nothing is so contrary to our culture which emphasis goals and objectives. Even deeper behind this mentality is the idea of in control. We believe in technology and that help us feel everything can be controlled. So the idea of doing nothing is really giving up control and giving it back to the person who should rightly be in control.

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