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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Alone but not Lonely

It seems that I am tied into interlocking conversations with people on all sides of me and with my blog readership.  Yesterday I wrote Many Things I Have Been #2  ( in the morning. .  I wrote other things and did the tasks and errands of my day, including job searches. then in the evening I went to a "Mercy Night" a communal penance service (with private confession of course) in my parish.  I came home near the end of my roommate Scott's Bible study.

Scott goes to Mars Hill, a conservative evangelical youth oriented church, and his perspective on some aspects of the bible is very different than my Catholic one, yet we focus more on what we have in common.   After the bible study Scott and KJ, who stayed, got into a conversation on various things.  I told them a little of what happened at Mercy Night.

Then KJ asked a question.  I guess he thinks I have an easy time with my single male chastity, because I seem so peaceful and certain about it.  I do claim to be happy and not exceptionally lonely, but I would never claim that it is easy.  KJ asked how do you do you become successful at not feeling lonely while you remain chaste and single.  I could have given him common place answers about friendship, about praying to God for help.  These things would be true, but not complete.

But yesterdays blog post, the second about hermits, contained an insight I decided to share, and the conversation grew from there. I told KJ that in a way being it's the same as how you succeed in the martial relationship.  As I wrote yesterday in both cases it's about interior spiritual change. You can move from a needy manipulative romance to true erotic love, and from that to a deeper and more general love, loving not only ones mate more deeply, but first ones children, then a deeper love for all man kind.  By a similar interior change one can move from loneliness to solitude.  While one remains alone, on becomes content. One enters into the silence of solitude and listens to God.  The Holy Spirit leads you in prayer. And in your state of solitude you can see God in his creation, or in the smile of someone you pass on the street.  So you move more deeply in love.

Scott add something remarkable to this conversation, and I felt compelled to write another blog post to carry this conversation on further. Scott is a dancer and goes out dancing often several evening a week. He is quite conscious of the dynamics of dancing.

He said that God does something to us, in either case, not unlike what he does in dancing, when his partner is not dancing in sync with him. Often we get into our self centered energy rather than the relationship. In dancing you partner can start dancing something that is not in response to the lead. the partner can get very deep into "there own thing" and not pay attention to what the lead is doing.

Scott does a simple thing when that happens.  He stops.  He finds that when he stops, his partner will stop.  Then he starts again, simply and slowly, waiting to see what his partner does, how they respond to him.  He is looking to see that they are dancing in response to the lead.

Scott says God does this to us as well, in both cases.  When we center on ourselves and start doing "our own thing" he just stops.  He stops until we pay attention to him, and then he leads us again.  So we can move from selfish love to deep love or from loneliness to solitude when we are responding to God's lead.

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