There is a silence we choose. Our retreats into our cells of silence and solitude still the noise pollution in our lives so that we might eventually be still. Quieted enough to hear the whispers of God. Still enough to feel the Holy Spirit winds blowing through our lives and to observe the effects of the Spirit winds all around us. We retreat in hopes of delight, in hopes of tasting the good, the true, and the beautiful.
Our eyes adjust. We acquire night vision so that even on the darkest of nights, we're eventually able to see the glory and faithfulness of God. We're able to clearly see the beautiful truths concealed by the helter-skelter of a too-busy, disintegrated daily life.
Our hidden life—how we live in obscurity—is what shapes our character. In this intentional pilgrimage into the desert, our battered, bruised, and banged-around selves can finally crawl out of the fetal position. This is a space where we stretch out to reinvigorate the parts of us that have atrophied. It's where the stress fractures of our lives heal. Here we gain our footing and strength. Here we can finally breathe freely while silently seeking understanding. This cell is simultaneously a hospital for the soul and a training ground for holiness.
Our intentional pilgrimage is not only a form of self-care but also a form of communal care. It demonstrates our deep concern for others. If we truly love others or seek to love others, we'll detach ourselves from them for a while, trusting that our time alone with God will sensitize us to their needs and concerns. Solitary experiences with God form in us the kind of character that loathes sinning against another. Therein we find the motivation to do good to others, including ...1