Alone Time

For many years I have made transitions between 'our' world where life is easy – electricity, heat, water, medical treatment and food are all readily available and another world, where the people are constantly struggling; electricity is a luxury, running water is unheard of, medical treatment is unknown, and food comes from what you can raise yourself.

And between those transitions I have found that I desperately need at least a day alone so that I can reflect, regroup, and energise myself for the world I’m about to face. I've even found comfort by participating in a cookery club where we share recipes. It's a simple temporary diversion from the raging waters outside.

When I don’t have that break I find that I remain out of sync for many days and eventually slump from exhaustion as a result. It leaves me feeling as if I'm not functioning on all my cylinders.

There are times when the world can close in upon us, and we can feel as if we may suffocate from the sheer numbers of voices competing for our attention and demanding our help. It happens to all of us at times, not just to priests, the mothers of pre-school children, or busy executives.

We need to be alone, to regroup, to remember who we are and where we’re going and why. If we are not to lose our way and fritter away our lives, we need time out regularly. We need to be quiet and alone, just as Jesus made certain that He was at regular intervals.

But in Genesis, God makes it clear that ‘it is not good for man to be alone.’ Isn’t there something of a contradiction there? Only an apparent one, for our times out, our alone times, are in fact directed toward communion, at oneness with God and God’s greater family, which is the whole point and purpose of our lives, our very reason for being.

If we want true communion, either with God or with His family, we simply must invest in time alone, away from the maddening crowd. Time alone is part of the price we pay for bringing our best selves to God’s whole family. It’s not selfishness; it’s just necessary. So take that time out, whether you think you need it or not!

And when you do, learn to listen through the silence. God has some important things to say to you. And your big family needs for you to hear them.

Almighty God, to whom this world with all its goodness and beauty belongs, give us the grace to joyfully to begin this day in your name, and to fill it with an active love for all whom I touch today. Renew my spirit that I may feel peace in the midst of turmoil and refreshment when I am tired. Amen



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