Language has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone.
I honestly have no idea who Paul Tillich is, or what the man believes, or even if he is still alive, but I love how eloquently he penned that phrase above.
Tonight, I'm claiming solitude as a little pre-Christmas gift to myself.
I love people. I love being around people. Sharing meals with them, visiting with them, dancing, laughing, and praying with them. But sometimes, especially when I've had day after day of socializing with people, I just long to be alone.
Some nights, that plan includes instrumental music and my laptop waiting for new characters and plots to be written.
Some days I walk along a path, watching the way the leaves move in the breeze, or listening to a brook babble over rocks that stick out above the surface of the water.
Some nights it just means laying in my bed, rubbing my feet against the soft, cool, red sheets that I use during winter time.
Often, I will escape to the library and read magazines for an hour or two.
Tonight, that plan of solitude includes a bubble bath and my Bible app reading Scripture to me while I soak.
Solitude is a gift that we can only give ourselves. If someone else gives it to us, it tends to feel more like loneliness. I encourage you, sometime this holiday season, to seize an hour and give yourself the gift of solitude. It's good for your soul. It's wonderful for reflecting on the season we are in. And best of all...when we take time for solitude, the time we spend surrounded by people feels more like a blessing.