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  • Writer's picturegailphilip4

Solitude? Isolation?

Prayer and meditation and reflection go together in my book. They overlap in what follows. In this time of isolation which will impact particularly on single people consider these 3 possibilities.

First, we can lament before God. We lament our losses and sudden endings. Hopes dashed for holidays and weddings. We find ourselves in a strange unfamiliar land. Stay home. Isolate. Death stalks the land. But Jesus knew isolation in the wilderness. A wilderness which prompted strange thoughts and temptations. We sit and weep and God sits with us. That is the Jesus story. We present our hopes and fears before God.

Second, we reflect on what isolation could mean. The word comes from the Latin for “island”. But what is an island? It’s not really cut off from other lands, because the sea is a great highway. When Gail and I were in Nassau in the Caribbean we deliberately shunned the tourist hot spots and went instead to the commercial docks. Here we saw perhaps 20 scruffy seagoing vessels about the size of a large off-shore fishing boat. Goods were being loaded for, and unloaded from, the other islands in the Bahamas. There are about 700 islands in The Bahamas, but they all are part of ONE country, connected by a beautiful highway called the sea. So think of the way now in the lock-down we ARE all connected: in our thoughts, prayers, shared experience of lock-down, for example, plus of course the highways of social media and online togetherness.

Third, allow yourself to be awed by the prospect of the world opening up again at some point in the future. It doesn’t matter that we might get carried away in our imaginations. If we do that helps us marvel at God’s wonderful creation, and to share something of what St Paul meant when he wrote at the end of his letter to the Ephesians: “To him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory”.

(Inspired by an article by The Revd Nel Shadow.)

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