Friday, October 18, 2013
Loneliness vs. Solitude
I rent a small room in a house full of disconnected people. There's like 7 of us living in a house, with hardly any connection with each other.
We share bathroom, kitchen, and sometimes words.
My room is small. Being there can feel very trapping.
I hardly felt at home at this place.
Sundays were the worst days. I would go to Mass in the morning, talk with some friends, and then, disappear into my room.
I mean, what else could I do? Pray? Check. Watch a movie? Check. Listen to music? Check.
The loneliness still persisted.
I would usually try to escape this feeling of loneliness by going to spend a weekend visiting my parents, escaping with friends from church on odd adventures, or visiting friends nearby.
A few months back I had an intuition that God was and is trying to use this time for something.
I felt Him speaking to me, one lonely Sunday afternoon, "Why don't you use this time to practice solitude with me?"
The obvious became clear, as it's often the case when one encounters some wise words. Herein lies my solution; not in escapades or in entertainment, but in solitude with God.
I mean, I've done solitude before. I had some solitude retreats before, and while it can be difficult at times, it usually is a calm, healing and reflecting time with God.
But what was missing with my Sunday afternoons was simply intentionality. If I were intentional in using that time as "solitude time with God" then the loneliness would usually leave me.
There is huge difference between loneliness and solitude, though outwardly it may look the same.
Loneliness may be a part of bigger issues that we need to address with God, and solitude may be our dealing of those issues with God. Both can be painful, but one leaves you thirsting while the other satisfied.
Loneliness is a thirst for water, solitude is drinking from the fountain of living water.