A year has past since the TSSF Area Meeting decided that I was not suitable to go forward for Profession, which greatly saddened me as it meant that I also lost friends and fellow Franciscans as well as my Spiritual Director.
Having been without a Spiritual Director for all of 2016 the search is on for some one who is willing to take me on. This is not an easy task! Last year two were found for me...the first one we both agreed it would just not 'work' and the second viewed 'spiritual direction' as their career and charged £30 a session plus travelling expenses.. an offer I declined.
Until my accident in May of last year my life had continued as an Urban Hermit...then things got all topsy turvy 'pear shape' and my times of solitude and silence got lost in hospital visits, physio therapy and so on. Until now...
With the start of this New Year the call to solitude remains as strong as before and so I am slowly withdrawing back into the glories of time spent alone, well, not really alone as God is also there . Taking on only the minimum of commitments as before.
I had a conversation with some one at church last week about solitude in general, interestingly they viewed 'solitude' as being a very selfish Christian. Believing that as Christians we are all called to be out in the world evangelising. This view of solitude is not one I had encountered before, more often I am asked "don't you get very lonely"....no, I don't, solitude is not loneliness, and I do not get lonely in my solitude.
Neither is solitude easy...it tends to bring up things deeply hidden in the mind and soul and laid before God.
Then I read this short article by Sister Thérèse Garman in last weeks church's service sheet:-
"Loneliness is linked with our expectations of others. If we expect people always to satisfy our longing, we will always be disappointed. When we are lonely, we often try to distract ourselves. Restless and unhappy, we summon other people, by email,phone, social media etc. to meet our needs.
Solitude, however, can lead to contentment...we are able to be present. Jesus always found time for solitude with his Father. Do we sometimes need solitude with God? We can practise solitude by spending time in daily prayer. But solitude is more a state of mind and heart, an attentiveness, than a place. With inward solitude, we are not alone. Amid noise and confusion, we possess deep inner silence. We can then reach out to the lonely. We need to go from loneliness to solitude to community. At the core of our being there is a longing for God that can only be met by converting loneliness into solitude"
Taken from ' Sunday Link'