Monday, January 18, 2010

Finding Solitude - thoughts by Henri Nouwen

Father Nouwen wrote a book about the topic of solitude vs. loneliness which sustained me a few years ago when I was at the lowest point of my life.  Seeking solitude in a monastery for the weekend, I finally "got it" on the drive home.  In solitude, I listened, and got what I needed for that time.

Finding Solitude

All human beings are alone. No other person will completely feel like we do, think like we do, act like we do. Each of us is unique, and our aloneness is the other side of our uniqueness. The question is whether we let our aloneness become loneliness or whether we allow it to lead us into solitude. Loneliness is painful; solitude is peaceful. Loneliness makes us cling to others in desperation; solitude allows us to respect others in their uniqueness and create community.

Letting our aloneness grow into solitude and not into loneliness is a lifelong struggle. It requires conscious choices about whom to be with, what to study, how to pray, and when to ask for counsel. But wise choices will help us to find the solitude where our hearts can grow in love.

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