Ever more, I see that my desire for silence and solitude is a gift, perhaps the deepest gift I’ve been given. In silence, I see that no-one’s going to rescue me. No-one’s going to anaesthetize me. I don’t possess God. God possesses me.
In silence and solitude, I see that my life on earth is “a bad night spent at an uncomfortable inn,” as Teresa of Avila put it.
It’s an uncomfortable inn where I never feel truly at home, and at the same time, “Lord I have loved the beauty of Thy house and the place where Thy glory dwelleth” [Ps. 26]. It’s a night at an uncomfortable inn where we prepare for eternity, where everything registers, where every day, every minute, matters. And where we are broken open, over and over again, by beauty, by love, by truth.
As Evelyn Underhill said, “It seems so much easier in these days to live morally than to live beautifully. Lots of us manage to exist for years without ever sinning against society, but we sin against loveliness every hour of the day.”