"Silence is a source of great strength." – Lao Tzu
"A man can be himself only so long as he is alone." – Arthur Schopenhauer
In my humble belief, moving is not a joyous experience. Although family members and friends come together to achieve a common objective, stress flares up from time to time. Recently moving to my first home, I decided to streamline the process, consumed with simplicity. My bedroom was packed and moved to the den, arranged for quick pickup. A good friend helped me load up in forty minutes and we headed to the new house. My father and another friend awaited our arrival—we unloaded the truck in twenty minutes. Fatigued, I spent the day in relaxation, ready to unpack the next day. As I considered the reality around me, a simple truth emerged: I was alone. Oddly enough, this feeling was without deep emotion. I will truly miss living with my family and the relationship building, but moving forward is not only good, it’s necessary.
In the Scriptures, God studies the first man and notices a disparity. Each animal is part of a pair; one is a complement to the other. But the man is standing alone. God recognizes this reality and decides to intervene, stating that it’s not good for man to be alone. Accordingly, he creates a woman. In fact, the bond the two share is literal: the woman is created from the man’s rib. I am astounded with the staying power of the aforementioned statement: it is not good to be alone. But I live alone now. No one is waiting for me when I return home. And while I enjoy the freedom of this organic time schedule, the presence of knowing another is near is the meditation of my heart. My search is for a complement, a companion, a partner, a half, a spouse, a wife. It is not good to be alone. At times though, it is.
Timing varies with whom I ask, but the conclusion remains the same: live by yourself for a season. Perhaps I am conflicted with moving withdrawal. I am eager to enjoy the presence of another. Ironically, this is the exception in Western thought. The role of the individual and his or her personal success is highly prized. The role of team success is growing, but it still tends to be overshadowed by the efforts of one person. Ponder the meaning of the Pixar success Cars, directed by John Lasseter. Lightning McQueen fires his pit crew early in the film, unconcerned with the assistance they are willing to give. Mack and his shallow agent are his only friends left. But taking a wrong turn, he discovers the small town of Radiator Springs. In time, he discovers the value of letting others help and “slowing down.”
And when moments of "slowing down" arrive, solitude is necessary. Alamoth writes a psalm and records this word from Above: "Be still and know that I am God." In the moments of silence, clarity arrives. When one studies the life of Jesus, He is often identified with the crowd, teaching, rebuking, healing. But the Scriptures reveal a phrase that repeats consistently: "He withdrew.” To reference Cars once more, Sally leads Lightning to a unique place. Inching towards the cliff, Lightning poses a simple question: "How did you end up here?" With a simple smile, she replies, "I fell in love." With a mutter, Lightning wonders who the lucky vehicle is: "Corvette?" She replies, "No. With this." The camera turns to capture the valley below, the wondrous beauty stunning animation cannot fully capture.
At times, solitude is very important. Prayer comes to mind, but when distractions are commonplace, focus lapses and the mind turns to other thoughts, obligations, chores and opportunities. An Estonian Proverb states, "Silence is sometimes the answer." While many cannot sit in silence for even a few moments, I believe it is important for clarity, understanding. And although the mind wanders, it seems to inevitably settle on what is truly important in the moment, what matters most at the given point in time.