Learning to Live in Lone-liness

 We live in a culture of gadgets, noise and busyness.   With all these distractions it can be difficult to simply listen to the rhythm of our own life and reflect upon that which we hold most dear. Nearly a year ago a group of six or so began a shared journey of slowing down to listen.  Each Friday we gather in the Bell Tower of our church.   We gather for lectio divina, which is an ancient practice of meditation on a Biblical passage. We begin with the soft gong of a Buddhist prayer bowl and then read a passage from the Bible.   Three times we read accompanied by a question:  What word or phrase speaks to you?  What truth (s) do you hear in the text?  What truth (s) will you carry with you?The six of us have found that this practice of slowing down, listening, being attentive has become life-giving for the rest of our day and week.   We have discovered that there is beauty in being together and at the same time alone.  Alone with our thoughts, struggles, questions, gratitude.

Below is a poem by Carl Sandburg*

Learn to Live in Loneliness

 A man must get away
now and then
to experience loneliness.

Only those who learn how to live
in loneliness
can come to know themselves
and life.

I go out there and walk
and look at the trees and sky.
I listen to the sounds of loneliness.
I sit on a rock or stump
and say to myself,

“Who are you, Sandburg?
Where have you been,
and where are you going?”

*I was introduced to this poem by a daily message ministry of the Church of the Saviour in Washington D.C  Each day a daily quote can be sent to your computer.   For a sample click here:  inward/outward.
 Click here to sign up if you’d like to receive a daily passage.

2 thoughts on “Learning to Live in Lone-liness

  1. Bruce, I never cared for poetry until 2002. Prior to that I thought of poetry as either achingly sweet or so abstract it didn’t make sense. In 2002 I heard a poet recite poetry with passion and found the words and rhythmn were able to reflect thoughts and emotions that oftentimes resist being easily talked about. For me, Sandburg is one of those poets. Thanks for your comments and sharing in the journey of lectio.

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