Solitude & Journaling

Solitude is very rare in my house. Once upon a time not too long ago, my daily shower was perfect for solitude, meditation, prayer & intimate conversations with the Creator. That time has now been invaded by the sound of angry toddler beating on the door, begging to get in, even though he took a bath 30 minutes ago. Often, late night scripture reading is broken by the oldest child wanting water or the middle child trying to coerce us into letting her sleep anywhere but her own bed. Not that I hold it against the children. I love the very much and appreciate the short amount of years I have with them. And to be honest with myself, I probably sound the same to Father God, barging in on a conversation with a prayer that started without silent contemplation or seeking His presence, but rather dove right into whatever ailed me at the time.

Yet that doesn’t stop me from pursuing the precious gem. Henri Nouwen once said in his book on solitude, that “The secret of Jesus’ ministry is hidden in solitude.” and I think its true. We find in the scriptures that Christ sought a place free of distractions when it came to his conversation time with the Father. His desire wasn’t born out of annoyance with others, but out of deep affection for His father. So deep that every conversation was as important to Him as two people deep in conversation and love. So deep that the world seems to fade as if the other person is the only one there and you simply want to be alone with them. You are drawn into their presence, the sound of their voice, the gentle nuances that make your relationship with them so special. Even if it is just a close friend and not a spouse, you still desire those quiet moments you share.

So in my house, I have to pursue solitude in other forms and I think I found one that suits me. Back in the 6th grade, my teacher gave us the assignment of writing a daily journal. For some it was probably torture, but for me it was pure delight. I loved journaling and I kept it up until the start of my blogging days. I allowed by blog to take the place of my journal because I could carry a conversation on with people like you. I still enjoy that aspect of it, but at some point there are just things about me that I am not willing to share with the general public. Furthermore, it is a lot more difficult to focus on a conversation with God in a public forum. So I picked up the pen the other night and started writing, filling page after page, when I realized I was lost in solitude. Lost in quietness, drawn in as the ink splashed on the page.

So reader, what creative ways have you found solitude?

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3 thoughts on “Solitude & Journaling

  1. Do you think that solitude can ever sound scary at first? I know that I felt that way. Even after I had become convinced that I should ask God for the grace to practice solitude, I was so reluctant to do so and it took me a long time to overcome my fear. I was afraid of being alone without distraction and afraid of encountering those parts of me that I hated and hid away because they made me feel insecure, those parts of myself that I felt might be unlovable (and I'm sure we all have those parts). I eventually felt like my spiritual life was stagnating so I knew I had to finally try to take solitude seriosly and it has been such a fruitful experience. I have only begun to receive the gift of solitude and I already feel like it has been so rewarding and has helped me to grow in respect for myself and others as God's children. In terms of finding creative ways to practice solitude it kind of depends. On some days I don't feel lke I necessarily need to be physically alone in order to find solitude, but other times I do. On those days I go walking or go to the store and shop. I usually have to get out of the house. Anyway, sorry for being so longwinded, but this has been on my mind alot lately (not that still wouldn't be longwinded anyway 😉

  2. P-Diddy: Do you think the stage of life you are in affects your perception of solitude? For me it was never a scary experience as it is a welcomed one. But then again, I have a household of children to contend with! If I were in your shoes, the story would be different. Of course your story is uniquely yours, a wonderful twisted journey of faith and your own experiences expressed in those moments when you meet God in your daily walk. Perhaps, solitude could lend itself to the fear of being alone – not hearing Him. That would indeed cause me to fear!

  3. Now that I am beginning to experience soliitude, I totally agree with you. I guess what I meant was that in the abstract it sounded like something that was scary before I really gave it a chance. But I think that you make a really good point about how our perceptions of solitude might differ because of where we are in life. That makes alot of sense. BTW, I'm really glad you mentioned Henri Nouwen. I started reading his books recently and he has quickly become one of my favorite (maybe even my very favorite) authors. His book “Reaching Out” has an entire chapter devoted to solitude that really made sense to me.

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