I like to be alone. I’m good at it. Solitude and silence are familiar friends, necessary to me. Unfortunately, this means I am also good at isolation. These past few weeks I have been pondering—when does solitude become isolation? I am acutely aware that when pain or sadness becomes layered over my days or weeks, I begin to unconsciously rearrange my existence to contain fewer and fewer interactions with humans.
A phrase from Psalm 13 once brought me up short, “How long shall I take counsel in my soul?” Though likely not the intended meaning of the Psalmist, it gave me words to put on this thing I do. I begin to only take counsel in my own soul. Yet, I know what happens when I become this self-referencing system. I view the circumstances and experiences of my life solely from a single position. I begin to believe lies. I stop living and fade into simply coping.
Gathering with my VF group last Saturday pulled me up out of myself again. I am conscious that these ones are not my day-in day-out community. A group that has only met twice for two hours and will only meet two more times will most likely not be ones I bare the depths of me to. Yet, this fact does not make the group a waste, or unnecessary. Quite the opposite. Gathering with this group of these particular brothers and sisters does what an ordinary class cannot. I am invited into engaging truth WITH others, and hearing hope and wisdom that I cannot access when I only “take counsel in my own soul.” When exploring the results of our strengths evaluation, I was caught up in the reality of God’s brilliant design. We need each other. We must serve together. Sometimes the one most opposite is the one most necessary to me.
It is not good for me to be alone. As I left our time together, I carried away a powerful reminder to seek out my trusted others, to not go dark or crawl into my hobbit hole. We are designed for togetherness, to live, serve, and minister with and among. I realize and remember. And then, I can rejoice.