Living alone can be deeply rewarding and deeply challenging. It is not for everyone. It is not for those who romanticize its offerings of freedom and focus, but excise its menacing visitations of loneliness and alienation. It is not for those who find silence shattering.
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“No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life,” the young Nietzsche wrote as he contemplated what it takes to find oneself.
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“A great deal of poetic work has arisen from various despairs,” wrote Lou Andreas-Salomé, the first woman psychoanalyst, in a consolatory letter to the poet Rainer Maria Rilke as he was wrestling with depression, nearly a century before psychologists came to study the nonlinear relationship bet
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Just a word of relief as we begin today’s devotions. Father Killian McDonnell, a monk of St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville (MN), offers the following on the notion of perfection:
I have had it with perfection. I have packed my bags,
I am out of here. Gone.
As certain as rain will make you wet, perfection will do you in.
It droppeth not as dew upon the summer grass
to give liberty and green joy.
Perfection straineth out the quality of mercy,
withers rapture at its birth.
Before the battle is half begun,
cold probity thinks it can’t be won, concedes the war.
I’ve handed in my notice, give back my keys,
signed my severance check, I quit.
Hints I could have taken:
Even the perfect chiseled form
of Michelangelo’s radiant David squints,
the Venus de Milo has no arms,
the Liberty Bell is cracked.
Last week we talked about Sabbath … wasting time with God. We are products of the Protestant Reformation and its accompanying "work ethic" so we find it hard to waste time. I suggest that today’s lesson will be even harder as I suggest that we need to be alone with God.
Continue reading “Go to Your Room – Why Solitude?” →