In solitude I have known the mystery of quiet; the embrace of silence as a balm of healing. In stillness I have learned to hear the voice of God through his Word applied to my heart and mind. Yet to community I am drawn, a dangerous but necessary occupation of relationship. The tension between the two is as a dance in pale moonlight, gentle and liberating, jarring and sometimes painful. They equally applaud the other as co-beneficiates, while holding each to account as moderating influences.
In solitude I cry out to God; in community I embrace those who seek him and converse respectfully with those who do not. In solitude I lay down my life in submission to God; in community I give of it liberally to others. In solitude I weep, and dance, and intercede before the Lord; in community I share with others in the mundane and the sublime, giving more attention to listening than to my need to be heard. It is a spiritual dance of necessity. God models for us his own community by virtue of the co-equal relationship of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and with respect to the fact he created us to live in community with him. The Three always are in communion. We require solitude for a season in order to give margin so that we may have time to commune with God privately and thereby be better equipped to be his emissaries to the world.
Solitude has long held sway over my imagination, too often to the detriment of community. Each has its own perils when partaken in excess. Each has a vital role to play if we are to grow consistently in Christian maturity. It is a risky task which is laid before me, and I don’t always know the way, much as Frodo was perplexed at the route before him. But a fellowship of common accord which is focused on the purposes of Christ will do much to make the journey accessible, even to the very end.