Thomas Merton suggests, “Solitude is not found so much by looking outside the boundaries of your dwelling as by staying with them. Solitude is not something you must hope for in the future. Rather, it is a deepening of the present; and unless you look for it in the present, you will never find it.”
It’s a darn good thing to be able to find solitude wherever you are in the present moment. It sure makes life a lot easier. A cottage-by-the-sea is hard to come by; think cost, time, life style, and obligations such as family and job.
But what about my solitary trips to Florence? The boundaries of my indwelling seem to include getting away by myself for a period of time. That hasn’t changed, although I feel more grounded in my internal solitude.
I feel extremely privileged to have these getting-away opportunities, and truth be told, from time to time I feel a tinge of guilt surrounding my good fortune. But I am who I am, living in this time and place, in these particular circumstance. I don’t believe in making myself miserable; I don’t believe anyone should be miserable.
My hope is that in doing the only thing I can do—determined to save the only life I can save * I will inspire others to do the same.
*Thank you, Mary Oliver. See “The Journey,” posted on the home page of this blog.