"But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray." Luke 5:16
I came home from the beach early to begin teaching Freshman Comp, and realized I have spent probably more time alone these past six months than in the past 25 years. It's been a fruitful solitude, and Barnesville, where I am sojourning by myself at the moment, hardly fits the description of a desolate place-- it's bursting with all the fecundity caused by a rainy spring, including my abundant raspberry patch--but I am here alone.
I do miss Roger and my kids--and that's a good thing. It's a good thing when you can say you miss your teenage children and mean it!
This past semester at ESR, I was also in solitude often, as I rented a small apartment near campus and stayed there midweek to attend classes. Often, it was so bitingly cold that I hurried home to be in the warmth and do my reading. As spring came, I made friends, for which I am glad, but often was still alone with my work.
I realize my time in Richmond at ESR was a joyful, rich solitude, and quickly understood that my deliberately austere apartment was my version of Thoreau's cabin, a place stripped down to the essentials where I could "front" life. The solitude was creative and clarifying, though I would miss Roger terribly at times.
My children being gone--either to college or boarding at Olney--has created much of this solitude. While I was glad the boys could board at the school last year, I also wonder if we should have kept them home another year. I developed a pattern of stopping at Sophie's college town en route to Richmond so we could have lunch together weekly, which was a good way to keep in touch.
I know people have different tolerances for solitude. I am glad Jesus went off by himself to commune with God and refuel. I wonder how other people deal with solitude and whether they find it helpful or not.