Monday, August 17, 2009

Moving: from "loneliness to solitude?"

Today I woke up at my parents house for the first time in a long time without a predetermined date of leaving. Over the last eight years I have lived in community with others - for the most part - but now I do not. Saturday I moved out of the house I had lived in for four years to move back home to Moreno Valley and into my parents house. The main reason for this move is because it will allow me to save money as I look for a job. While my parents are doing all they can to make this move easy on me, it has still been and will continue to be hard because other than my parents, I do not have any form of community where I now live. All of my close friends over the last eight years live at least a 45 minute drive away from me. On top of this Katie, my love, lives an hour and fifteen minutes away.

As I was packing up my stuff I came across a book a old friend of mine told me to read by one of my favorite authors, Henri J. M. Nouwen. The book is titled, "Reaching Out: The Three Movements of The Spiritual Life." As I started to put the book into the endless box of books something stopped me. I pulled the book from its space between cardboard walls and it's paper back bound friends and placed it on top of a pile of the to be read. Today, as I packed up my bag to go sit at a local coffee shop and read, I grabbed my four current books I am readying. Placing the books in my bag the spirit of God cried out to me within my heart for something new. I looked up to the small group of books I had placed in the "to be read box," which Saturday found their way onto the only small bookshelf I have in my current room. As my eyes panned across the book titles, they landed on "Reaching Out." Somehow I knew this was the one. I grabbed the book, replacing it for another, closed my bag and headed out.

Reaching into my bag, now at the coffee shop, I grabbed Nouwen's book and started to read..."It is far from easy to enter into the painful experience of loneliness. You like to stay away from it..." As I continued to read God began to open my heart to this present time and place I currently found myself in: a time of loneliness. In the first part of Nouwen's book he attempts to move the reader from a place of "loneliness to solitude." Reading through the book I realized that somehow I had become an American consumer cliche, filling my life with stuff such as reading, tv, movies, and even friends never allowing myself to be alone with my thoughts. Somehow in the mist of life I had crowed out my thoughts and forsook solitude for busyness and noise. Even though I swore to myself I hadn't, I had drowned out the silent voice of God with other things. Without me even knowing it, I think God has somehow forced me into this uncomfortable time and place in life. Why? Because I need to be in this time and place during this point of my least that is what it seems like for now.


Daniel said...

Man, this is something I feel I've been going through recently also. It doesn't feel wrong to be so busy with spending time with people and whatnot, but if it's replacing God's place in my life, I need to fix that. I hope the process isn't as painful for you as you might originally predict! At least God knows what he's doing...and it should be good.

Steven Johnson said...

More than anything the last couple of days have just been weird. I basically go from when I wake up till I got to bed without any human interaction, other than ordering food or coffee and sitting next to someone who I have never met in my life. It has been hard to try to formulate what this whole process should look like. Thank you for your blessing my friend. Praying for both of you.