Solitude and Community

From Parker Palmer (via Fajita):

But most of us in our daily lives exist neither in solitude nor in community, but somewhere in between. We sacrifice both form and content of truth. Seldom are we truly alone, and seldom are we truly in relationship to others. This is the vacuousness of mass society and mass education: our lives alternate between collective busyness and individual isolation, but rarely allow for an authentically solitary or corporate experience. In this half-lived middle ground, our solitude is loneliness and our attempts at community are fleeting and defeating. We are alone in the crowd, unable to touch the heart of love in ourselves or to touch others in ways that draw out the heart.

How true. To thrive, our spirits need both solitude and community. Yet, ironically, most of us find neither. We find ourselves in the middle of crowded cities, houses, buildings, and churches, yet alone – because we are not truly known by (nor do we truly know) those who are around us. And even when no one is physically near, an email or cell phone call is never more than a moment away.

What a tragedy.

God, grant us the peace that comes from deep solitude and the intimacy of authentic community.


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