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“You only have to let the place happen to you…the loneliness, the silence, the poverty, the futility… ‘alone with the Alone.’”

~ Kathleen Norris, Dakota, A Spiritual Geography

Loneliness? Silence? Poverty? Futility? Are these the things I want to shape my life? To be honest, not really. My culture has taught me to expect—and that it’s what is “right”—to have friends or family filling my life, to be able to express what I think, feel, and want, to be successful, and overcome any sense of futility.

Yet, I cannot deny the fact that Jesus sought not solitude, but time ‘alone with the Alone.’

Often, when we battle loneliness it is because we have not made room in our minds for the Alone. We are not alone, for the Great Alone, is ever present, yet, we feel lonely.

We see poverty as failure, and thus, feel alone in it. We see the struggle of futility as failure as well, and thus, feel alone. When we muddle through a rough patch where friends and family are either not present or have disappointed us, we wonder, “Where did I go wrong, choose wrongly?”. And, the silence feels deafening.

But what does the Bible say about silence? A quick Google search for “scriptures on silence” will yield hundreds, but one of my favorites is: “For thus said the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’” Isaiah 30:15

That’s a tough one. I don’t trust easily and when I don’t trust that means, on the deepest level, I’m afraid. When I’m afraid, I tend to try to talk my way out of whatever it is I’m afraid of. Being silent and trusting rarely dawns on me until the squall has passed.

This reading from Kathleen Norris has reminded me of dozens of passages in both the Old and New Testaments of how important silence is. It also challenges me to ask myself, “Do I suffer loneliness because I have not made room for being alone with the Alone?” and “How would it be different if I sat quietly with the Great Alone in silence more often?”

It is difficult to see—much less sense (feel)—God’s presence when our lives are cluttered with too much chatter, too many things, and even too much time with beloved people rather than alone time with the Great Alone.

I think I’ll stop writing for a while and hike a bit with the Great Alone.

Love, your sister along the journey,

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