Last night I felt the Spirit’s gentle tug on my heart;
As a good believer should – I fought it.
The spiritual disciplines of silence and solitude are achingly difficult for me.
I thrive on shared experiences, verbal processing, touch, community.
For me, “alone time” (oh, unfathomable concept) is directly interchangeable with “nap time” or occurs in places like Starbucks and the public library – settings in which unspoken, individualistic American boundaries force introspection and internal solitude upon me (oops, my preference for communal cultures might have slipped out in that sentence).
Last night, after several minutes of deliberation I slipped out of my apartment and began a leisurely, reflective walk…directly towards the bright lights, warmth and humanity in the Student Center.
Halfway there I paused and assessed the skirmish taking place in my heart;
“I can’t go somewhere alone – I might miss out on something wonderful, something relational, some connecting, some soul-sharing…but…but…”
In that brief moment of contemplation I saw evidence of Christ in me because, by the grace of God, I wanted Him more than anything else. That was enough to re-route me (finally) to a place of quiet, silence, solitude.
I sat on a swing in the darkness for a long time (at least five minutes).
The air was cool and smelled of rain.
Pine trees laid in silhouette against the night sky.
Crickets chorused from the damp grass.
It was quiet. I was alone.
“All was silent as before –
All silent save for the dripping rain” (Longfellow)
I waited expectantly for an angel to appear and reward me for my exile.
I did not walk away from my hour alone with profound revelations. However, I left with a quieted soul.
A refreshed spirit.
I communed with God. Sitting there, surrounded by nature and silence, thoughts of Him came naturally, clearly.
The Holy Spirit of God will not force Himself upon out hearts, He will not scream over my grooveshark playlist, interrupt my multi-tasking tendencies or physically remove me to a time of solitude.
I must obey his prompting but He will always, always, always be available for communion and, as I am learning, there are lessons, convictions, joys and hope only accessible through solitude and silence.
I will learn to wait in silence, even if it kills me (which it very well might).
Thank you Lord God for your grace and patience.
To paraphrase Emerson;
“Let us be silent that we may hear the whispers of God”.