I have a lone iris bloom in the back yard. I’m not sure if the rabbits and squirrels have eaten the other buds, or what, but Iris got me to thinking about loneliness and solitude. The two are not necessarily the same. Which led me to think of Henry David Thoreau, and my favorite quote from Walden (which is free for Kindle on Amazon).
“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”- Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
In a world full of noise, being alone can be painfully uncomfortable to the unaccustomed. If one is not careful, being alone can quickly lead to loneliness (which, by the way, can be felt in a room full of people, as well). It is in solitude, however, that one can truly know themselves and learn to hear the voice of God. Solitude can be both refreshing and restoring. The difference, then, between loneliness and solitude is perception and vulnerability.
Job struggled. Else why would he have need to write, “Teach me, and I will be quiet…” Job 6:24
Jesus needed solitude… “Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:15-16
It isn’t often that I get a few minutes alone. When I do, though, I can choose to be happy and reflective, or I can choose to be lonely and seek to fill the void left by the absence of noise.
How about you? Are you able to enjoy being alone?