I just turned the page of my 2014 calendar and drank in the new word that is to be the theme for this month. My word to live for the month of September is WONDER and I am in dire need of sitting in its shade. But then I remembered that I hadn't written about my August word yet so I turned the calendar back to August and gazed at the word SOLITUDE.
The picture for the month depicts my friend and sister in community sitting in a lovely outdoor dwelling with a cup in her hand, presumably coffee, and I ask myself, "does this really depict deep solitude?" What would need to go to truly depict solitude? Probably the cup and the caffeine! But let's not get hung up on semantics. This is just my take one it.
Recently I saw a lovely outdoor scene with a woman lying on a diving board reading a book. The caption was: SOLITUDE! I found myself saying, “wrong!” Throw the book in the lake. Get off the diving board.
So truly, what is solitude? Are you afraid of it? Do you find it healing? When you are in solitude, do you look for distractions? Or, do you slowly begin to taste the sweetness of solitude? I believe that can happen only after we learn to be comfortable with the gift of stillness and silence. When I truly learn how to be alone by choice—how to embrace solitude as friend, I slowly cease looking for distractions. I learn to melt into being. I begin to be comfortable in being with the self that is me.
In looking at the word solitude I see a relation to the word latitude. The sol of solitude suggests aloneness which also points to space, the space around us and even within us. The word, latitude, points to space: geographical space, universal space: the breadth, width, size of something. Why not personal space? Although I have not taken the time to look this up entomologically I can see a kinship. And so when I use
beautiful words from Ephesians 3: 16-19
I find myself being moved into solitude.
The space around me seems to grow larger and I find myself move into a
greater stillness. St. Paul
The more I practice this kind of solitude alone, the more I will discover that when I am with a group of people some of that space around me lingers and it is easier for me to remain calm in troubling situations.
Out of his infinite glory,
may you be given the power,
through his Spirit,
for your hidden self to grow strong,
so that Christ may live in your hearts
through faith, and then,
planted in love and built on love,
you will with all the saints
have strength to grasp the
breadth and the length,
the height and the depth;
until knowing the love of Christ,
which is beyond all knowledge,
you are filled with the utter fullness of God.
Ephesians 3: 16-19—
Find a space alone and ask yourself, What is the latitude of my heart!