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Holding Forth The Word Of Life.

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October 2008

     It may be that some similarities exist between these two experiences. However, for the most part, the two are not at all alike.
     Loneliness is always a negative experience. It speaks of absence, and of lack.
     Solitude is not being in the company of others - but not especially will this become a negative experience.
     Loneliness is the result of not having a meaningful relationship with other people.
     Solitude is not necessarily lacking those relationships - but being in a state where others are not present for a time.
     Loneliness brings with it feelings of deprivation and desolation - feelings which can become oppressive, and even result in depression. It can stifle the heart, and leave a person feeling without hope.
     It is true that being too much alone - too much in solitude can lead a person to loneliness. Because of this fact, it is good to recognize the need to human companionship and fellowship. If one's work schedule or lifestyle is resulting in too much time spent alone - it may be well to consider a change in lifestyle.
     God, after creating Adam, the first human being, said of this creative work - "it is not good for man to be alone" (Genesis 2:18). By this, God was telling us all, that there is an aloneness which is not good for the soul of man. God's remedy was to create a woman, who became a companion to Adam, a "helpmeet" as the Bible describes her role.
     We believe marriage and the home setting is still an excellent way for meaningful and fulfilling relationship bonds to develop, both for man and wife, and also for their children.
     The principle of being too alone, though - reaches beyond the home relationships. It addresses the needs of single men and women as well, individuals who perhaps have no person close to them to help alleviate their aloneness. It is vitally important that such persons recognize where they are in this matter, and chose ways to build relationships in their lives.
Having said that, a certain degree of solitude can be a time and means toward spiritual renewal.
     Where too much time alone for a lonely person can drag him increasingly into a state of a depressed spirit, in contrast, a time of solitude can be beneficial.
     Jesus spoke of a time in his life where the crowd was so insistent, and the activity so intense that even a time for eating was almost not possible. In the midst of this situation, He called his disciples and said to them, "Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat" (Mark 6:31).
     Spending at least some time alone to rest and meditate is a good way toward spiritual renewal, and allows the mind to focus on God in ways not possible otherwise.

- Mervin Brubacher,
   Barwick, ON
He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. Matthew 14:23

Solitude Versus Loneliness

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