Come to the Quiet

Still

Come to a space that you choose to be your place of solitude—at least for the span of a day.

Maybe you think you don’t have the luxury of a personal monastic retreat in the midst of your busy daily walk. Time alone is a pipe dream, you think.

People commonly crowd into your space, make demands, consume your time, and expect to be served. But you must choose to find solitude. It will not find you. You find it by retreating—even in the midst of a crowd—into that space of imagination, memory, and surprise inside you.

Imagination, memory, and surprise—these gifts may be atrophied in you, set aside as something for children, the elderly, or daring teenagers. But you can choose to reclaim these gifts. You can choose to imagine, remember, and be surprised by the little delightful things you haven’t noticed in a while.

You can find solitude if you choose not to shut down that self who emerges only by intention to slow down and take Sabbath in the middle of the traffic rush that is your life.

You can find solitude if you choose to take the time to think. Technical skills and electronic aptitudes do not make you able to say who, whose, or why you are.

You can find solitude if you choose to take the time to imagine what thoughts go through a rabbit’s head, what a grandchild sees in your aging face, what sitting in God’s lap would make you feel, or what it would be like to live your life over again.

You can find solitude if you choose to take the time to listen to the rhythm of music in the snoring of your dog, to the wind as it lifts waves into a waltz, to the almost imperceptible drumbeat of your heart.

You can find solitude if you choose to seize the fidgety moment and make it stand still for a while. Otherwise, the present is gone before you can even give it a passing embrace. Then it is only the next thing that matters. And happiness can no longer surprise you; nor can joy have its moment or peace make a visit.

You can find solitude if you choose to take the time you don’t think you have to stop by the old neighborhood and remember the games of yesterday’s friends, to stand at the graveside of your loved one(s) and thumb through the album of pictures in your mind, to go back to that sweet time when as a child you prayed, “Now I lay me down to sleep. . . . ”

You can find solitude if you choose to take the time to meet the question of why God has allowed your suffering and what good he has produced or will produce from it.

In solitude you feel in your heart and soul what your mind has so quickly processed, what your body has already passed. You become you in a deeper way. And you begin to hear the whisper of the Divine. 

About the Author

Rev. Clifford Bajema is a retired pastor in the Christian Reformed Church.
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