For years this painting hung in my studio. It represented time between, Jesus feeding the five thousand and his walking on water, when he went to the hillside alone.
In scriptural accounts, the disciples got into the boat. Jesus did not go with them, but rather withdrew and prayed.
At first I saw high points flanking a lull. Later, I realized that some of the more significant moments might have taken place during his solitude. I wondered what Jesus’ time alone with his father looked like. Did he sit in quiet meditation? Perhaps he prayed words of thanksgiving or petition. Or maybe he simply listened.
Prayerful waiting can be segues that connect the more noticeable events in our lives, too. In the beginning, we may find solitude uncomfortable, because it begs authenticity. In earlier stages of development, we have a need to prove ourselves and much of our focus is outward. Our feats define us and may serve our communities well. Later we are offered a different kind of fulfillment in the synchronicity that often comes from being true to self. Are we willing to step away from the group, long enough, to discover what we could not see in our busyness?
When we overtly focus our efforts on belonging to a group or on accomplishments, apart from authenticity, we remain divided. We find ourselves living solely toward external measurements and for the accolades of others. But if we can enter into and trust solitude, in the time between our responsibilities, we develop courage to let go of the things that deter us from our truer journey.
Sometimes letting go opens us to a greater connection that binds us, as one. From a distance, we see with fresh eyes, noticing things that we missed in our earlier preoccupation with the group and its momentum. By engaging solitude between responsibilities, we come back to community, renewed and with more to offer.
Although community, goals and destinations hold a vital purpose, prayerfully withdrawing, in the time between commitments, gives needed space for Soul to nurture us. It is there that Sacred within opens us to a deeper relationship with Mystery.