Archives, Biography, Pondering, Songs of Assent, Wheaton

Uninvited Solitude

I’ve had an uninvited visitor in my home for the past several days. She isn’t visible to anyone but God and me. Her visit began with a rather unwelcome, but much needed, departure. Nearly two weeks ago my husband dropped everything to be with his ailing mother across the country.

My son is here, but he is now a senior in high school. I am not ailing at the moment, and am certainly not particularly prevalent on his conversational radar. My life is quiet, because when I’m not teaching these days, most of my time is spent at home. So Solitude decided to show up for a rather intense visit.

Solitude has long been an intimate friend of Simplicity. But I’m drawing to the end of her visit with a renewed recognition that this friend can be a challenging companion at times: especially when she appears uninvited.

I like Solitude when I’m ready for her. Enforced companionship is another matter all together. I have found myself wanting to run away, to find someone else to talk to, to do something that would distract me from her presence. But here she’s been sitting: in my kitchen, my study, my living room-even in my mail box and email inbox.”Where can I go from your presence?” sometimes includes God’s soul friends-like Solitude.

When I finally stopped running internally and looked at Solitude straight on, rather than just out of the corner of my eye, I discovered that, while she was searching, she was not unkind. We found dreams I didn’t know I had, ideas that I have needed for the day and the season, and renewed perspectives that needed long moments to get in focus.

And we discovered other uninvited guests that have snuck in over the past few months: despair, bitterness, anger. They were my more natural dialogue partners, and I needed to get quiet enough to recognize them for what they were. I’m in the process of demanding that they leave the house.

Wyatt gets home on Saturday, and I will be so grateful to see my life’s companion again. But I am now glad Solitude came for a long visit. She has given me much to think about, and, in the end, she has reintroduced me to her dear friend, Simplicity.

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