If you haven’t read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s little book, Gift from the Sea, you’d enjoy it as a summer spiritual ice chest for your soul. Listen to this insightful passage:
“If one sets aside time for a business appointment, a trip to the hairdresser, a social engagement, or a shopping expedition, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if one says: I cannot come because that is my hour to be alone, one is considered rude, egotistical or strange. What a commentary on our civilization, when being alone is considered suspect; when one has to apologize for it, make excuses, hide the fact that one practices it—like a secret vice!
Actually these are among the most important times in one’s life—when one is alone. Certain springs are tapped only when we are alone. The artist knows he must be alone to create; the writer, to work out his thoughts; the musician, to compose; the saint, to pray.” (Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Gift from the Sea. New York: Pantheon Books, Inc., 1955, p. 49-50.)
This rings true fifty years later. We feel we have to explain ourselves if we say we are spending some time in solitude. If we say, “I have an appointment,” few would ask any further. If I say, “I have scheduled some time alone in solitude,” many would wonder what in the world that meant.
Lindbergh suggests that the value of being alone is the tapping of certain inner springs of life and creativity. In solitude, I often find that my soul finds rest in God, is able to draw on the creative life of God and produce something good that reflects His richness and beauty.
Lindbergh goes on:
“Our daily life does not prepare us for contemplation. How can a single weekly hour of church, helpful as it may be, counteract the many daily hours of distraction that surround it? If we had our contemplative hour at home we might be readier to give ourselves at church and find ourselves more completely renewed.” (Anne Morrow Lindbergh, p. 54-55.)
Amen! Do we go to church assuming that we are bringing something, or assuming that we’re there to get something? This doesn’t have to be an either/or, but the reality is that many assume the latter. How might I let God’s riches fill me so that when I gather with God’s people I come overflowing and ready to share rather than empty seeking something from others?