Solitude is a quest and a posture of the heart. Solitude is moving away from distractions to rest in the unconditional love of the Divine.
Whenever I need to unplug from distractions, I often gravitate towards the mountains. For this time in solitude I chose to trod a section of the North Georgia Mountains that was unfamiliar to me – Jarrard Gap near Blood Mountain.
Within the first two miles of my ascent I came across a wooden sign well-worn by age and exposure to the elements. In that moment I had a realization – even in solitude I am never truly alone. Countless others have trekked this mountain of blood, sweat, and tears. I wouldn’t doubt if even the first inhabitants, the Cherokees, of this now-occupied territory didn’t consider at least some portions of this mountain to be sacred. My pilgrimage was not a solitary venture; I walked in the footsteps of unknown ancestors.
And even in that moment I was not alone. Love sojourned with me. My heart and mind synchronized with the elevated beat of my heart as the names and images of loved ones and loving moments accentuated the majestic beauty and serenity of this place.
As my late spiritual mentor Keith Naylor used to sing:
I’ll go to the river, drink ‘til I find;
I’ll go to the mountains for my peace of mind;
I’ll go to the valley to learn from my pain;
I’ll go to my Maker who loves me the same.
Isolation is a refusal to love or be loved. Loneliness is the fear that we’re somehow unloveable. But solitude is abandoning ourselves to the simplicity and sacredness of a Maker who loves us the same.