There is a secret place, far from the brewing tempest and maddening crowd. It’s the soul’s deliverance in times of great loneliness.
When I am lonely, my thoughts can be my demise. They try to carry me outside the confines of safe reality, in search of people and places to fill the empty spot in my heart. As many times as I have found comforting, sympathetic voices to listen, those fleeting interchanges never cured loneliness. On the contrary, when the voices were gone, loneliness returned with a vengeance. Loneliness is like a swirling, lava pool of emotions, searching for volcanic expression.
For me, the crowd has never been a cure, either. In fact, it seems my feelings of loneliness are heightened by the crowd. Whether the din of the mall or the intense press of passersby, the great human experience is often something to flee, for there is little warmth or welcoming from the gathering masses. No impersonal brush against the wall of humanity fills the need for the tenderness of a loving touch.
When loneliness pursues me, I seek the place where loneliness dares not tread. Solitude is my solace. In my garden-like retreat I am met by all my best memories: friends I have loved; places I have discovered; books I have read; and darling family members who have departed. In the place of solitude I rediscover my authentic self, the me I have become through a life-time of learning and experience.
Solitude is my place to find the deepest kind of companionship; because He walks there. Tis there in my secret retreat that I feel the warmth of His breath so close to my face, and His presence fills the atmosphere with symphonic delight. In my sweet, sacred hideaway, I am nourished and restored. I am met by His melodic words in familiar hymns or hear His voice through passages enhanced by nuance or served with deeper revelation. He surrounds me there; He embraces me there; there, He restores my soul.
One of the best features of my secluded get-away is its ease of access through many gates. I can arrive by car, careening around a mountain pass or breezing down an open highway. My feet can carry me there, ambling through a forest thicket or leaving a trail of footprints along a sandy beach. In fact, I don’t even have to leave my favorite chair. But, surrounded by candlelight and the cascading of raindrops against my window panes, I can enter my haven of solitude. There He will meet me, ready to lead me beside still waters, making me new with His warmth, His laughter and His love.