Friday, November 04, 2005

Reflection on Solitude

Originally uploaded by jeremysullivan.

I've been reading this book called Reaching Out by Henri Nouwen. He describes three different tensions in the spriritual life, the first being 'loneliness to solitude'. I've obviously spent a lot of time by myself over the past 5 and a half months. I made a large effort to embrace the quiet...avoiding music, excessive reading, and other media. I feel like I've had an incredible experience of solitude and I feel like this book is helping me make sense of it.
I'm learning about a new form of solidarlity. Living in the Waterfront South neighborhood for 2 years before this trip granted me physical solidarity with some of the realities of Camden...breathing polluted air, subjecting my body to potential violence, and exposing my eyes daily to the destructive patterns of addiction. (I also recognize that my solidarity will never be complete because I have the choices that priviledge has granted me and not my neighbors).
Before taking this trip, I wondered if being physically separated from these realities would disconnect me from this solidarity. I've found that this hasn't been the case. Nouwen has helped me understand that by engaging solitude we create space within ourselves for the pain of this world...allowing ourselves to carry it in solidarity. I feel like this has been the case for me, especially because the story of the city and community has always been close to my mind, heart and voice as I've traveled.
For me, pulling my trailer has been symbolic. In the first week of the trip I realized that I was carrying too much and I had to mail some things ahead. In these last weeks I've again realized that I've accumulated more stuff than I need again. But I feel a new strength that is encouraging me to keep carrying the load. In the same way I feel as if my time of solitude in these months has created room in my heart to carry a bigger burden.


At 11:20 AM, Blogger heather said...

amazing reflection jeremy! i continue to look forward to each entry of yours. i went for another hour and a half bike ride through the foothills of the mountains here in colorado and thought of you most of the trip! you are amazing!

At 5:44 AM, Blogger Rosabelle said...

jeremy, you've been in my thoughts these past few weeks as we've talked about starting a bike church out of our basement (3200) and as i've been riding my bike more, realizing that i want my transportation to be just as much about the journey as the destination. yesterday, i started reading reaching out by nouwen - i found it under the counter. it's amazing and i'm glad that you're reading it too.
peace and love,

At 7:11 PM, Blogger Ryan Lee Sharp said...

I love that book (Reaching Out). Good to read your thoughts. Cheers on your return. Hope to meet you guys when Holly and I are out there in a few weeks.


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