Solitude, part three

solitude with thishappymom.comIf you’re wondering how you missed the first two parts of a solitude series, don’t worry.

You didn’t.  I did.  It wasn’t until I was writing today’s post that I even realized it was the third part of a bigger story.  I first wrote about how much I was craving space to think in a Five Minute Friday post on QUIET.   Then I finally got some space and was thankful for it in some thankful thoughts on solitude.

Which brings me to today.

So as I sat there in the emptiness, thinking and listening, I had a few interesting thoughts about solitude. (that probably qualifies as one of the more zen things i’ve ever written for my blog. sorry.)

On a spiritual level, I recognize that solitude is part of the emptying process.

It’s when I can finally empty out my head of all the little mundane thoughts that I can hear God. When I empty my head of the little things, I make room for the big things.

There’s a saying about “less of me, more of You, Lord” that I’ve heard before. I think I’m probably trying to describe that process.

On an emotional level, I’m learning just how draining all that little thinking is.

It’s the mental version of clutter inside my very own skull. If my mind was a giant desk, without solitude the desk would be piled high with tiny scraps of paper in all shapes, sizes and colors. Each scrap, a separate task or thought.

(if you’ve ever tried to organize a pile like that, you know it’s impossible to see the important stuff for all the trash. it’s like having an entire box full of unsorted mail – you’d never even know there was a check in there for all the junk mail.)

With some solitude and space to think, it’s like a breeze hits the desk and blows away all the papers. The best part is that all those little scraps come back to me in organized lists. Somehow the process of sitting still makes all the noise turn to music.

On a mom level, I’m conflicted.

Part of me feels guilty when I sit down to be quiet and still. Part of me feels like seeking solitude is inherently rejecting my family and friends. And that feels wrong. I feel like I shouldn’t even WANT to be alone because it makes me a bad mom and a horrible wife.

So I ignore the need. Or I try to cram in solitude in the leftover corners of my life.

But then I look at how much more effective I am (as a mom, as a wife, at life in general) when I’ve had space to think. I look at how much easier I find it to pray and hear God. I’m reminded that I find it easier to feel joy and contentment when I’ve had space.

And suddenly it seems like solitude matters – a lot.

It seems like it should be a much bigger priority in my life, something I guard jealously. I should probably put more effort and planning into solitude than I do into my morning coffee. And sadly, I haven’t been.

And what is solitude for me anyway?

In my particular circle, there has been a huge emphasis on the importance of having a daily “quiet time” – preferably first thing in the morning. When I’ve heard it described, it consists of reading a passage of scripture and/or a daily devotional. After that, I had the impression that people followed a format of prayer – like working down a list of requests or thoughts.

Maybe I have the wrong impression of what my friends mean by “quiet time.”

Or maybe I’m just different.

That stuff is great. It belongs in my day somewhere. Although to be honest, it sometimes feels more like something I can check off a long list of “supposed to’s” each day.

But that stuff doesn’t feel like stillness to me.

That stuff is more like taking the time to put all the little scraps of paper into folders.

Solitude is that what I get when I can finally just be still and lose myself.

I wish I knew how to explain it better. It’s beyond being unplugged.  Perhaps that’s part 4.  Who knows.

So what are your thoughts on solitude and motherhood.  Is it an inherent conflict that comes with the job?

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://thishappymom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/DSC_0036.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Houston Mom Blogger Susan Baker has a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood. She has two elementary school boys, one engineering husband, and one cat. She has a strange fascination  for eggs, socks, and books.  She spends far too much time on Social Media and at Target. She is crazy in love with her family.  She serves an amazing God.   She lives an ordinary life filled with wonder. [/author_info] [/author]

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Susan Baker
I have a passion for encouraging weary worn out mothers to find joy in everyday motherhood and peace in unlikely places. I have two elementary school boys, one nerdy husband, and two cats. I have a strange fascination for bad puns, the color pink, socks, and books. I worry about running out of toilet paper, wine, and chocolate.. I serve an amazing God. I live an ordinary life filled with wonder.
Susan Baker
Susan Baker

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