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(The pictures are the link for the other sections)
Revised 26 December, 2009
People often confuse solitude with loneliness, but they are mistaken in their assessment. To be in solitude allows one to pull deeply within one’s self and to learn who we truly are. It is, if you will, a conversation…. a one-on-one with your inner being.
When deeply perplexed by something or simply in need of replenishing my soul, I sit up late at night by myself and write out my thoughts, or simply go out into nature and sit upon a rock with the sun on my face and empty my mind of active thought in an effort to get a better perspective on the world in general and the problems it presents. Most of the time, I walk away with a resolution at hand and a deep sense of inner peace.
As a child, my grandmother loved to go to Denver to visit our family. My aunt and Uncle ran a real estate office there and would let her know when a low rent cabin was available. The best part of the Colorado Rocky Mountains is that you can sit on the cabin steps at night and listen to the wind sloughing through the branches of the wonderful pines. In that soft and haunting whisper, a small child can reach out to eternity and touch the stars.
As I grew older, my grandfather bought me an old Brownie box camera, which became my constant friend and companion on these trips. Grandpa was an amateur photographer himself and greatly loved to record his trips on film for escapes into memory later. Apparently, I am much like him in nature because I inherited both his love of taking pictures and his love of history. He taught me that the past is part of who we are and his stories made the people come alive.
My mother always said we must be part Gypsy because I love to wander to new places and explore new things. I have probably eaten many strange and unusual foods that I otherwise might never have tasted simply because my father told me one could never know if they liked something or not if they never tried it. I will admit, though, that having tried liver and onions, I can safely say I see no need to try it again.
There have been times when I have been lonely, to be sure, but not because I am alone within myself. I have found a friend in myself over the years that I didn’t know was there when I was little. I don’t always like that friend and sometimes I wish I could just walk away from that friend, but my friend is most persistent in following, therefore the only real solution has been to accept that friend for who she is and to be at peace with myself as much as possible. If I need to have a good close talk with that friend, I have only to close my eyes and shut out the outside world. She is always there and always has time to listen.
No. solitude is not being lonely. It is being completely at one with life and with yourself. Being lonely is when you shut yourself so completely off that you cannot even bring yourself to talk to you. Solitude brings peace and acceptance. Loneliness only brings about despair because it takes one away from all the good that lies within.
As with all my little stories, I tend to wander. I guess what I am asking you is when was the last time you sat in silence in the stillness of the wilderness and talked things over with yourself? It’s a good practice, but I don’t recommend you do this too loudly, since others might not understand your actions and think you are crazy. They say there is a fine line between genius and insanity. It all depends upon your perspective. There are those who believe I am truly crazy. Perhaps they are right. After all, as someone once said, “All the world’s crazy except me and thee and I have my own suspicious as to thee.”
Be well, be thoughtful and love yourself.