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Solitude – A Reflection

January 12, 2020

We attended a wonderful workshop this afternoon in Broomfield after this morning’s powerful worship service. Our friend and mentor Christine Sine who created the blog GodSpace Light was the facilitator. The workshop was about her book The Gift of Wonder. We had a delightful evening with the other participants and have the good fortune of hosting Christine for two nights in Estes Park.

On the drive back up the mountain she asked us what we do to recharge our spiritual batteries. We talked about contemplative walks and contemplative photography as two disciplines which feed our souls.

The more I think about it though, a deeper answer might be our need for Solitude. Denise and I are both Introverts. While we spend a lot of time interacting with other people in our ministry, solitude is what renews us. Sometimes when we are walking or hiking in the Rockies we will go for long stretches of time without speaking. We are very present with each other but often silent. Instead of lots of conversations, we walk together with our cameras keeping our eyes open for those special God-Moments we encounter in the Park. The picture above is from a simple walk to the car when we left church after working all day on Lenten worship plans. The below picture is from a slow, contemplative hike we took when we literally stumbled across this fellow taking a siesta.

First I saw his antlers out of the corner of my eye.

Next we saw him enjoying a snack. He knew we were there (at a safe distance mind you!) but was perfectly content to hang out with us. I swear he even posed for us!

Have you ever seen such a face? ❤️❤️

Yes, he stopped, posed, and then slowly ambled away after 45 minutes!

That was 45 minutes of awe-inspiring wonder in God’s creation. As Christine says, it was a gift of wonder!

Solitude is truly defined in many ways. A Monk who lives a good deal of his time in Silence might bring one image to mind. A couple walking in the mountains quietly and then spending time with a Bull Moose obviously brings another image to mind.

What is common to these images is the fact that God’s children are all nourished by their experiences in Solitude. Thomas Merton often went exploring on his walks with his camera in hand. He would also write about these experiences in his journals. He met God in the solitude of the woods near his beloved Abbey. He also has his famous vision of humankind’s interconnectedness on the busy corner of Walnut and 4th in Louisville, Kentucky (Thomas Merton’s Mystical Vision). Merton has been teaching me a lot lately. Today it was connected to the question about recharging our Spiritual batteries which Christine asked us in the car.

As I was reading (Merton’s little book, Silence, Joy) before settling in for the night, I came across this quote which spoke to my heart.

Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present, and unless you look for it in the present you will never find it. (p. 61)

Solitude can be easily discovered if our spirit is open to listening. The way that I find best to do this is to heed the advice of the Psalmist… Be Still and know… without such times of quiet and restoration this Padre’s well runs dry. With it, I am nourished and sustained.

Be Still and Know…

Be Still…


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