We are social creatures, interaction and connection are a part of who we are.
However, there needs to be space in togetherness. If we do not have space, we lose ourselves. We need to reflect, be in touch with our feelings. If we do not have time to be alone, we just react to life and are in danger of living on the surface of life.
Loneliness can be fearful, there can be an ache wanting to be filled in in our inner space and vacuum. We wait for someone, something to fill the loneliness within us. We want reassurance that we are lovable, likeable.
The reality is that no one can take our loneliness away. However we do not need to stay lonely.
Being alone does not mean that we have to be lonely, we do not have to experience isolation, we can choose to journey from loneliness to solitude.
When two lonely people come together trying to take away the loneliness within, what you end up with is two lonely people together.
You can be lonely in a crowd.
We can move out of loneliness when we begin to believe that we do matter. We have a God given sacredness, goodness, in the core of who we are.
Yes, we can remind each other of this reality. The core message of the Gospel says very clearly how much we matter to God. When we live the Gospel with each other, valuing, honouring, respecting, forgiving, etc. each other we become living reminders that each one of us does matter. When we do this, we help facilitate ‘God moments’ for each other.
Jesus needed time out often, to pray, to reflect. Retreats, quiet times every day at home, in nature, and other places help to ground us, keep us in touch with the deeper realities.
Solitude and silence can be beautiful, indeed good for us!
Saint Anthony of Egypt spent 20 years in the desert as a hermit. When he came back to connect with people, they expected to see an eccentric, half mad person. Instead they experienced a healthy and sane human person. This was the early 300s. He became a founder of the monastic movement of the desert fathers and mothers in Egypt and the Middle East.
Most of us are not called to be monks or nuns. We are all called to have times of solitude. We need to reflect, to pray, to be alone with God, connecting with nature and the environment.
In fact some solitude is necessary if we are to be wholesome healthy human beings. When we show respect for others, we can help them move from loneliness to solitude!
God Bless you today.
+ Charles Gauci
Bishop of Darwin