Lost and alone on some forgotten highway
Traveled by many, remembered by few
Lookin’ for something that I can believe in
Lookin’ for something that I’d like to do with my life
John Denver’s provided expression, hope, ideal, anger, and frustrations. In essence, his music filled me with texture.
Sweet Surrender is reminiscent of today. As schools, businesses, restaurants, baseball, football, family reunions, Labor Day, and 4th of July celebrations moved online, “Zoom,” “Skype,” “Messenger,” “Facebook,” and “iMessage” have become our ‘new normal.’
But while the “new normal” might feel lonely, spirituality, it can hone our craft. Opportunities for growth abound.
Like the great prophets, we can learn to stand in our deserts. Solitude can provide perspective and sensitivity to things long forgotten. We can find deepening in ways never imagined and strength in moving forward.
For example, by Good Friday 2010, my cup had overrunneth with arrogance. While I could see the fault of others, I failed to envision the benefit of any such self-reflection. I was fired and found the only job available required relocation to upstate New York. I felt exiled.
During the subsequent months, I walked the banks of the Hudson River and attempted to interpret, understand, and reinvent myself. There were times when I sat upon Hudson’s riverbank and asked why God placed me there. In essence, I came to a point where there was nothing left, nothing to hide, no means for covering up the negative aspects of my personality. I came with nothing but the ability to surrender everything to the only one who could help.
I learned several lessons during my time in solitude.
First, leave with vision. In this time of social isolation, take the time to reflect. Reassess and align yourself to a better ’true north.’ Second, celebrate victories, large and small. Don’t over-hype small gains. In baseball, singles, and doubles win more games than home runs. Third, recognize and honor interdependence. Everything is interrelated, including time, space, and our very being. Both religion and science reveal this truth — our spiritual and emotional being interpenetrate and nourish one another.
Closing Thought: Find Texture
“Rabbi, now that I am divorced, it is very lonely.”
“Tell me. What do you do when you are alone?”
“Well, I water the plants,” she said, faltering. “I wash a few dishes, call a friend.”
The Rabbi listened.
“I sit on the couch for hours and stare at the bare branches out the window. I play over, and over Paul Simon’s album, I never listened to. I read several books I have never read. Lately, I’ve been sitting at my dining-room table and painting. My neighbor says I should be an artist.”
The Rabbi interjected, “So, suddenly, your life has texture?”
“Yes,” she smiled. “Texture.”