Just one word. A word to discover, to pray on, to strive toward, to learn from in the months to come.
Our word for 2014: Solitude
Lest we think of solitude as a lonely place to be, we prefer to think of it the way a Carmalite Sister from LA so nicely put it, “Solitude is not an empty space, a void; it is an encounter with the God who loves us…” –Sister Laus Gloriae, O.C.D
The choosing of the word is a post in itself. It was stumbled upon, prayed about, and then presented to each of us in too many unexpected ways to ignore it.
Here is to discovering what is in store for us this year as we enjoy some solitude.
Seeing: A year full of promise. Plans made for regular date nights, home projects on the horizon, intentional slowing down and breathing room. Oh, and new pillows. After 16 years, new pillows!
Open books: Family read-aloud: Just finished Hitty Her First Hundred Years and started The Burgess Animal Book for Children, Toby: Treasure Island, Lilly: Magic Tree House Series(in random order-so much the opposite of her brother who could not go onto the next book unless it was in order), Mark: Beyond the Birds and the Bees, Maria: Just finished The Secret Life of Bees and moving onto Signs of Life.
Listening to: Crackling fires in the wood stove on these cold white days inside and Matt Maher, lots of Matt Maher.
Intentions: Praying in thanksgiving for the health of our family and friends. Offering intentions for those we know who are suffering from infection, cancer, and unknown causes.
Thinking about: Which home project to tackle next…..
Unexpected: A bag full of hand stitched doilies and table clothes from my late Nonna that made their way into our home. And on a sad note, the loss of all of of our honey-makers thanks to the bitter cold winter.
Discovering: The beauty of simplicity. Decluttering, simplifying, spring cleaning, whatever you want to call it. When our physical space is tidy, our mental space breathes easy.
Exciting: New chicks have been ordered!!
Clinging to God in Solitude ~ Henri Nouwen
When we enter into solitude to be with God alone, we quickly discover how dependent we are. Without the many distractions of our daily lives, we feel anxious and tense. When nobody speaks to us, calls on us, or needs our help, we start feeling like nobodies. Then we begin wondering whether we are useful, valuable, and significant. Our tendency is to leave this fearful solitude quickly and get busy again to reassure ourselves that we are “somebodies.” But that is a temptation, because what makes us somebodies is not other people’s responses to us but God’s eternal love for us.
To claim the truth of ourselves we have to cling to our God in solitude as to the One who makes us who we are.