Stillness that heals loneliness

Long-term sheltering in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to dramatic shifts in daily routines, which have caused some to feel lonely, remote, disconnected, and discouraged. But does physical isolation have to lead to loneliness?

As I considered this recently, I was struck by the difference between loneliness and stillness. Many of us have felt lonely at one time or another—a dearth of companionship, a yearning for more personal connection, a fear of being excluded or missing out on something. Stillness, on the other hand, is often characterized as a quiet, peaceful, secure state of mind. And just as it’s possible to feel lonely while surrounded by other people, it’s equally possible to find stillness in the midst of great tumult.

In its spiritual significance, we might think of stillness as a closeness to God, the calm we feel when thought is lifted above chaos and uncertainty to a higher sense of being. Psalm 139 assures us of this closeness to God: “O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. . . . Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. . . . If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me” (Psalms 139:1, 7, 8, 11). We’re always at one with God and can never be separated from Him, even for an instant. As the above psalm makes clear, even if we wanted to get away from God, there’s really no way we ever could!

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Quietness and healing
October 5, 2020

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