“Solitude is the furnace of transformation.” ~ Henri Nouwen, author of The Way of the Heart
When I was coping with my midlife divorce, I often found myself alone. Not just alone for a few hours in the day, but alone, alone. After our last child left for college and the divorce was final, I was alone, for the first time in my life, really.
I married during college, so I went from my parents’ home, to college, to a home with my husband, which soon filled with children. During those years, you pray for even a few minutes alone! You go in the bathroom and lock the door for a few precious minutes of solitude!
But after the divorce, I was the only one in my house. And since I worked from an office in my home, I didn’t have the daily camaraderie of fellow employees, either. That alone time was a huge adjustment.
All I could think about during this period was how everyone except me was “happily sharing life with someone else.” While my husband and his girlfiend seemed to be at a perpetual party having a wonderful time, I was sitting in my home trying not to feel lonely and depressed. (And I am a person who has always cherished my alone time!)
The Gift of Solitude
Let me tell you from where I am now: don’t wish away that time by yourself. Use it. Surrender to the quiet. Don’t rush to fill it up with meaningless activity and stuff.
You have been given this gift of solitude. (Okay, it’s been forced on you!) It can be a difficult, scary, disorienting time, but it can also be a very, very enlightening time.
Pretend you are on a life-transforming sabbatical, and think deeply about life’s “big questions”. If you believe in God, listen to His voice in this time. Try to let your new life purpose find expression. You simply cannot reflect deeply in the hustle and bustle of full and busy days.
Find your own transformation in this season with just yourself. You will be amazed at the deep, beautiful, powerful truths you can discover!
“As soon as Jesus heard the news, he went off by himself in a boat to a remote area to be alone.” ~ John 14:13a (The Living Bible)