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Solitude

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

This week's post, entitled 'Solitude' is the result of a topic suggested by the intrepid blogger from Pune, Ramana Rajgopaul.
 Ramana also happens to be my adopted brother. His blog is great. You'll find the link for it at the end of this post, along with the blog links for the rest of our blogging group.

Someone I know (I'll call him Mark, not his real name) did something bad a few decades ago. Something for which he served time as a guest of the President of Ireland. You don't know what that is? Well in the UK, if someone says they're a guest of Her Majesty, it means they're in jail. So go figure. So Mark's life went very much downhill. His marriage broke up and most of his relatives turned their backs on him. Mark doesn't blame them for that. He knows he did wrong. But the fallout of the whole business means that he ended up living in solitude. As he gets older, the chances of getting meaningful work are becoming fewer and further between. When he was in jail, he used to get visits from the priest. Then he was asked if he'd like to get visits from an evangelical church that undertook prison visiting. Mark agreed to the visits and it changed his life. He found the evangelical church to be wonderful. When he went to the Catholic Mass, he felt as if he was just another face in the crowd. When he attended the Evangelical Church meetings after being released, he felt as if he had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This made a huge difference. 

 Image by Gypzy from Pixabay 
Mark's Church has Bible study on Tuesday, prayer meetings on Wednesday nights and Eucharistic Celebrations on Sundays. Although Mark lives in solitude, only breaking that solitude for trips to the doctor, he is not alone. He can join his Church meetings on Zoom. I think that if it wasn't for the Evangelical Church members, Mark's life would be miserable. Solitude can be wonderful and refreshing, especially if you're surrounded by people most of the time. But too much solitude can be very isolating. It's a recipe for loneliness and depression. In Mark's case, it was good that he found a Church that was so personal and helpful.

Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

If you look at the life of people in middle age, it is often a very busy time. Kids clamouring for your attention, elderly people needing support and very little time for yourself. In that time of life, a little bit of time spent by yourself can be an unheard-of luxury. Then, a few years later, life could be totally different. The elders may have passed on. The kids may be gone. It may seem hard to believe, but things can totally turn around in a few years. In Dublin in the 1970s, a firefighter named Willie Bermingham was shocked, along with his colleagues, to have found the bodies of a number of elderly people who had died neglected and alone throughout the city. Mr Bermingham started up a voluntary organisation called ALONE to advocate for the right of the 'forgotten old'. I remember the media campaign they launched. I also remember the song from the campaign. Although it wasn't common, sometimes there were people who slipped through the fingers of society to a lonely existence in old age. That should never happen. It's good that there is more awareness now.

Image by mel_88 from Pixabay 
Many religions, including Christianity and Hinduism have people who take religious vows and go and live in solitude, keeping themselves alive by some kind of subsistence work or alms and spending time devoted to reading Scriptures. They feel they hear the voice of God speaking in silence. However, most religious vocations seem to feature some sort of community life, where people meet each other for prayer, work and study. In the long run, a mixture of solitude and community life seems to work better for most people. I'm not saying that it's no use being a hermit. That's a very special vocation and not for everyone. As for me, I love to write. But I find I can't write during the day when I'm surrounded by people. I can write better at night. There are no meals to cook or doors to answer.  I can hear my thoughts more clearly. So I suppose you could say I need solitude to write. I hope the results are worth reading.

Many thanks to Pixabay for the imagery.

Please Visit the Other Blog Friday Group Members

The other seven bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are  RamanaSanjanaPadmum,  RajuShackmanSrinivas and Conrad

Comments

  1. You flatter me and I love it. I have written about my own tryst with solitude and await your comments on it. Fortunately for me, I don't have to live on alms but, still pursue my spiritual processes staying within my comfort zone. As my teacher calls it, my Karma Phalam.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a growing interest in mental and contemplative prayer. I'm glad you enjoy my attention. More on the way!

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