Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Importance of Being Alone

Our home is more than just a busy house.  Quite often, it can be a crowded one, as well.  It almost always seems as if someone is there and something is going on.  Even when it’s quiet, it’s never really quiet.  Zac’s Xbox drains into the house from under his bedroom door, Dylan is popping in and out just to make sure we’re all still there, and the girls have taken up residence in one of the other rooms.  There are people everywhere!

Even with me working at home and the girls in offices, I still only get the house to myself one day a week, and usually Zac finds some way to barge in on it.  It is hard to find a quiet place in the house.  The bathroom won’t buy me peace and quiet, either, because no one hesitates to talk to you through the door. I have a recording of sound effects I play while in there, but even that doesn’t discourage the intrusion.

Of course, it’s not always people barging in on your day.  Most of the time it’s work, bills, and the pressure that comes with daily living.  Quite often it seems as if you’re being screamed at from every direction as so many things fight and claw for our attention.  Life comes at you hard and is fast paced.  You have to keep up or become left behind, and while that may have been an intriguing book series, it’s not how you want to wind up with your dreams and ambitions.

In our discussions this week of slowing down once in awhile and catching your breath, we’ve looked at taking advantage of those brief respites life hands you as well as packing up the family and escaping for a little while.  However, it’s vital not only for your own sanity, but for the benefit of those you are responsible for, that you get away once in awhile on your own.  In order for you to have anything to give to those who need you, you have to recharge your own battery, and that means you need to pull away and be alone for a brief period of time.

William Wilberforce, a member of the English Parliament in the early nineteenth century, wrote, “With peaceful Sundays, the strings would never have snapped as they did from over-tension,” about two other politicians who had committed suicide.  As a people, we are overworked and near exhaustion.  Our smart phones keep us working even when we are home.  There is no such thing as normal business hours anymore, and then at home we’re trying to balance work and family.  There is not time to simply rest, to be alone with your thoughts in order to calm a restless spirit that has been in high demand throughout the day.  If you are going to achieve your dreams you must find this time.

“I have too much to do.  If I take a break, I’ll be even further behind.  I just don’t have the luxury to relax.”  Being alone and resting is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.  Not only is it important for your peace of mind, but it enhances your performance and productivity.

Do you ever feel your body telling you it needs a nap?  That is its way of informing you it needs rest and solitude.  Now, that doesn’t mean ceasing to work and turning on the television.  I know it’s easy to zone out in front of the boob tube.  It’s that ability which enables it to turn people into boobs.  However, that’s not resting.  Nor is playing Angry Birds, and yes, that hurt to say as it’s my latest obsession.  You’re not resting by socializing or catching up on Word with Friends.  Rest, the kind of rest you need, requires silence along with solitude.

Shut everything off and leave the house, find a beach or a park, and just soak in the creation around you.  Sit in the grass and enjoy its feel or bury your feet in the sand.  It’ll keep you from burying your relative.  We have become so accustomed to noise, we don’t know how to handle silence, but it’s in that quietness you’ll find the strength to deal with the noise of life.

These brief respites can be just that - brief.  I know there are those who will take off for a weekend or longer away from their family in order to recharge, and while I have nothing really against it, that length of a getaway is not for me.  However, shorter periods are exactly what Doctor Robbie prescribes.  A quiet walk on the beach with the crashing waves as background music or a walk through a quiet forest listening to the breeze rustle the leaves for a couple of hours will do wonders for your emotional equilibrium, not to mention quieting those mental voices inside you.  Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself.  You will be of greater benefit to those around you.  It takes a healthy person to tend to the sick, so in order to be there for those you love pull yourself away for awhile.  There is strength to be found in the silence.

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