Mid-October 2015, I moved out on my own and silence very quickly became my enemy. I felt alone & unlovable. I was left with dark thoughts from a broken marriage, things I hear or read that I could never unheard or unread. Despite the constant encouragement of friends & family, all I could think was that I was a failure.
In hindsight, it wasn’t the silence that was the problem. Nor was it my ex-wife or the damage done (on both parts). It was just another tool that the enemy leveraged against me. Now I see it in the exact opposite light. Silence is a fortuitous moment to draw nearer to God. I opened the series on solitude with a moment where I laid on my bed and stared at the ceiling. A moment to “just be.” How can I have more of those?
Perhaps the first step towards this lifestyle is take advantage of the little solitudes that happen through out your day. Morning coffee before the rest of the family wakes up. The quietness at your desk before any tasks pass your way. The gentle breeze while walking alone from one place to the next. The subtle hints of joy while watching a child play. Holy leisure.
Next, establish a quiet place. Perhaps there is place inside your home that you can go and rest in silence. Your shower? If not, what about outside the home. A park bench. A church building. Some associations have retreat centers for this purpose. Maybe even a designated chair in your home that everyone knows that whoever sits there wants to be left alone.
Since we know our tendency to want to fill silence, take note of this the next time it comes up and purposefully remain silent, but attentive. Do not confuse this with ignoring someone. Let your words be full, but simple.
Go extreme ( with warning to your loved ones) and attempt to go an entire day without any words. Make note of your excessive dependence on words to communicate, rather than your actions.
Four times a year, retreat for several hours to figure out your life goals. Their very nature should be changing as life introduces new challenges. It doesn’t need to be cold and calculating, but discovery based. Where is God leading you? What people has put in your circle of influence?
- Spiritual Discipline: Solitude
- Solitude: Lens of Tradition
- Solitude: Lens of Reason
- Solitude: Lens of Experience