“Do not run, but be quiet and silent. Listen attentively to your own struggle. The answer to your question is hidden in your own heart” (Nouwen)
I have not been able to accept my loneliness; the problem is that I have not change the loneliness into solitude. The difference between these two is that loneliness avoids any kind of pain and tries to take me away from confronting myself while trying to get as busy as possible with as many people as possible. Solitude is the other face of this coin, because takes me to uncomfortable places where I need to face my fears, doubts, and even my own self; that most of the time it is very scary. Nouwen said, “By running away from our loneliness and by trying to distract ourselves with people and special experiences, we do not realistically deal with our human predicament.” And after 13 years of arriving to my house and be greeted by my wife, and may be talking about our dreams and hopes together, about having many children (and I wonder sometimes what happened with all those God’s promises), about buying our own home with a big terrace, a good library; and travel together around the world. All these was shattered four months ago when we made the decision in love to take different journeys. We believed our time to be together fulfilled its purpose, and we released our vows to be together. Even though it was a mutual decision, arriving home still seems very difficult, because my empty house represents all what I could not accomplished. For some it may be the faith I never had to be able to changed, others will tell me that I gave up, and many will never understand our decision. But nobody will ever understand us because we are the only ones who have walked in our own shoes.
How can I learn from this emptiness? How can I take my loneliness and change it to become a deep and profound solitude?
All these reminded me that my purpose of life is not anymore about having a great house, an awesome career, a well paid job, but it is to be able to find the true meaning of myself, the joy of knowing that I am loved, and that I can make a difference in the lives of people around me, by the simple moments of life like having coffee, drinking a beer, dancing with students, organizing a birthday party for my friends, by having a good conversation outside of a very cold pool; this is for me true religion, the way of simplicity. Not by all the knowledge that I know, not by following the law of church by perfection, not by pretending to be who I can not be. But “to live a spiritual life that will help me to find the courage to enter into the desert of our loneliness and to change it by gentle and persistent efforts into a garden of solitude”(Nouwen, Reaching out).