Think about how you chose your friends and how you stay friends. It is usually after spending hours and hours together doing things together and an equal amount of time being alone with your friend and exploring for intimate thoughts. The strengthening of the relationship is done within these intimate moments. The strengthening of the relationship comes as a result of love and builds itself so it can even withstand the hurt and pain of the other. Friendships that can be easily destroyed by a few words, even though words are powerful, it is a weak relationship. However, friendships that withstand the storm of disagreement are based on love. Solitude, and the desire for solitude, is a desire for love. For it is only in those moments that relationships can be strengthened.
We seek solitude because we seek the other, God. It is the beginning of the journey to be open, receptive and letting go. We can’t do this unless have a sense of trust and goodness in the other. The story of the Canaanite woman who had a sick child illustrates the desire to know the other. Jesus came into a region of the country that made his disciples uncomfortable. These were people they considered not worthy of their company. Jesus began teaching and soon a woman came screaming out of the crowd. She wanted Jesus to heal her child. She knelt before him, screamed at him and finally went up to him face to face. She pleaded with him to come to her sick daughter. Jesus said abruptly, “It is not fair to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs.” This is what many Jews called the Canaanites. Instead of getting up in anger she agreed with Jesus, but added, “Even the dogs get the crumbs.” Of course she did this because if there was a chance of her daughter being healed she wanted to take it. But there is another side to this. She engaged Jesus because somehow she knew him. She knew that he was more compassionate than that statement. Jesus told her to go home because her daughter was healed. Then he said, “I haven’t seen such faith in all
She found more than her initial desire. Stepping into solitude is like stepping into the unknown. We, more than not, get more than what we are seeking in silence. What we find in these moments is more ease in being open, we learn to be more receptive, which then gives us the strength to let go of our false self. This woman found more than she wanted. She found a friend and a new image of God who loves, is gracious and kind. She found more reasons to seek solitude to find the God of Jesus. But if she returns to her old habits of prejudice and bitterness she will soon lose what she found in that moment.
God is reaching out to us everyday saying, “Be still and know that I am your friend. Be still and let me help you. Be still and get to know me.” To do this we must seek solitude.