Archive for the ‘We Are Islands’ Category

John Donne wrote, “No man is an island.”  In a sense, I understand this statement–as we humans are interconnected.  We do need to care for others, and we need others to care for us.  A top priority must be consideration, as we help others become the persons they were created to be.  To love and be loved are basic needs of every human.

Yet each of us is created to be unique–unlike any other person on earth.  Perhaps a better statement than “No man is an island” could be:  “Each person is part of an archipelago–a chain of islands.”

In her classic, GIFT FROM THE SEA, Anne Morrow Lindbergh shared wisdom gleaned from the creative solitude of an island vacation–metaphorically illumined by the characteristics of sea shells gleaned from the beach.  Lindbergh wrote:  “I feel we are all islands–in a common sea.”

Then the author went on to describe the frenetic pulsebeat of modern society, the constant togetherness, the din of radio and television, the compulsive chatter which dominates so many occasions where humans convene–all those distractions which contribute to the starvation of the soul and the negation of a rich inner life.  (Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote GIFT FROM THE SEA decades before cell phones!)

Every year, in the midst of Christmas and New Year’s gatherings, I’m struck by the reality of a vast potential danger:  not the danger of spending too much money, not the danger of eating too many rich foods, but rather the danger of indulging in non-stop society–either with family members or friends.

Yes, it’s good to gather!  Yes, we thrive on sharing.  But in order to remain spiritually intact–like the unique human islands that we were intended to be–we must step back from time to time and allow ourselves an occasional afternoon or evening apart from human company, even the company of those we love the most. 

I need to wihdraw regularly, for prayer and meditation on God’s Word.  Also, I thrive on solitary moments in which to immerse myself in a creative craft or activity.  I can knit with people around, but my poetry can only flow from days of solitude and reflection.  I sketch and paint best when no one is talking around me, or looking over my shoulder! 

Periodically, we need to distance ourselves from the subjective assumptions and presumptions of others, concerning whom we are and why we are here.  Only God knows our true identity.  We cannot live in the fullness of that identity without spending time alone with Him!  Indeed, we cannot even begin to truly love people–and be loved–unless we occasionally remove ourselves the society of others.  We need solitude as much as we need food and water–perhaps even more.  Food and water merely feed the finite body, while solitude feeds the immortal soul!

Yes, we are islands–an archipelago of islands–closely related, yet unique.  Only through solitude can we grow spiritually so that we’ll have something of eternal value to share in the society of our family members and friends!

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

P. S.  Now we are 5:  5 blogs that is.  I love going from blog to blog–especially when it’s below zero outdoors and I’m stuck to my mouse.  Check out more reflections at:  http://northernview.wordpress.com/

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