Solitude

Written by Ellie Steltz on 08/06/17

Solitude. This is a powerful tool that I believe we all need to utilize in some way or another in our everyday life. I find myself with easy access to it now as David and I vacation with his parents at their family cottage on Wolfe Island. Such a gift. I am thankful to have the ease of walking out to the dock alone, just water in front of me, quiet filling in around me. So easy to sit and soak it in, to let go of the concerns that I have at home. The burden of a messy home, a to-do list, a list of “shoulds” that seem to always hang over my head. But when I’m home, amongst the chaotic beauty of everyday life, it is so hard to pause and completely free the mind from those burdens. But here, it is easy. To the point where it can cause me to dread returning to “reality,” if you would distinguish this vacation from reality for the sake of making a point.

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So, where is the balance? How can we take the rest that we receive while away in a quiet, secluded place, and allow it to flow into our everyday, somewhat chaotic lives? How do we find that solitude amongst the chaos?

I am very much an introvert, so I cherish my alone time even a bit too much. Nonetheless, I still find it hard to have time alone that is deep and fulfilling spiritually and creatively. I usually only find this when placed in a physical place full of peace and beauty that inspires me automatically to pick up a book and dive into the mind of another human, soaking up their insights and experiences. Or to write my thoughts and feelings because all of a sudden they feel powerful and meaningful. I love those things deeply, but struggle to find this unless I am taken away from dirty dishes, unfolded laundry, and a constant flow of one worry after another that comes with being an adult.

Can you relate? Are you in need of some simple solitude but have trouble finding it in your planned out life? I’m sorry to say that I don’t have an easy fix for this. I am trying to learn and am hoping I can have the strength to hold on dearly to what I am learning in this beautiful place of solitude and take it back with me to my crazy, messy, beautiful everyday life as a cherished piece of wisdom gained.

I am always reading through Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts Devotional, and am finding it particularly fitting for this season. She has such simple, but powerful reminders every day to live in the present and keep our eyes open to the gifts God gives us in every. Single. Moment. The birds chirping, the water lapping against the shore, the sun shining so beautifully on a sink full of dirty dishes, the laughter of a cherished human. These reflect what is in the deepest parts of my heart—to see the beauty in the simple moments in our lives. But distractions happen. Stress happens. To-do lists pile up. So I want to train myself to be able to find solitude even, no, especially, in those moments filled with worldly and non-eternal stressors. I want to be able to pause and thank God for the sun in the window, for the grace in moments of emotional outbursts, for the strength to wash the dishes when I really don’t want to and for the precious moments shared with my husband; moments I will cherish forever no matter how mundane they seem. And even to be able to pause long enough to sit and soak up a moment of quiet, to forget the to-do lists and concentrate the mind on God, or on creativity, or on a book.

I believe it’s worth fighting for these things. I hope you will join me in challenging yourself to stop and see with eternal eyes, in a moment you may have typically let pass right by you. To stop and think about how cool it is that we have bodies that work, even if some work better than others. To stop and give in to your creative or intellectual yearnings to read a book or draw a picture, even if it isn’t on your planner or your to-do list (or add it to your to-do list! Why not?!).

I know these are chaotic ramblings and musings, but I hope we can help one another fight for those moments of beauty around us. Do you have any methods that have helped you to pause in the craziness and soak up the beauty in your life? Please share them with me! I would love to hear your heart and learn from your experiences.

That is all the rambling I have in me for now.

All my love,

Ellie

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