Beautiful Desolation…Discovering Solitude

Beautiful Desolation…Discovering Solitude

Steve proposed to me on the way up to Mount Evans in Colorado. The setting was breathtaking – surrounded by pine trees, with a touch of snow on the ground, and an amazing panoramic view of snow-capped mountains nearby.

We revisited this spot on our recent vacation. The trees were taller and some new campfire spots had emerged – and of course we had our kids in tow this time. After we spent time there taking about a million pictures, we took the road further up the mountain. The very top was closed due to snow, but we were able to climb (in our van, of course) up to 12,800 feet in elevation.

It’s a strange moment when you rise above the tree-line and what was once lush and thick and green becomes merely small, dry shrubs. The wind moves with greater ease and makes the temperature feels so much colder without the trees to block the air flow. Leaving the familiarity of life behind to enter a sacred, quiet place. It can also be pretty frightening climbing up, up the twisting road with the treacherous cliff just beyond the car window.

The desolation up there was simply beautiful

…away from the demands of life

…out of cell phone or internet range

…the nearest trees a thousand or so feet below

…seeing to every horizon, miles and miles away.

Right now, by contrast, I’m sitting in a cozy chair at a bookstore, overlooking the highway and parking lot at my “lofty” second-story window. There are trees below, but smaller and mostly intentionally planted by men. Electrical lines and street lights, bustling cars and semis, laptops and cell phones, music playing overhead…the solitude seems so distant.

What was so captivating about the beautiful desolation above the trees? What was it that stirred me? In the stillness, away from distractions and constant accessibility it was easier to listen. Rather than the surrounding whirlwind of noise and demands, a blanket of calm enveloped me. I could take a moment to simply be and rest in knowing that nothing else was required of me.

So now, since I’m aware that trekking up Mount Evans every day is simply not going to happen – living in Texas makes that a bit difficult – I wonder, how can I capture even a few moments of that beautiful desolation in the midst of my day? Where can I go away from the bustle and the expectations and noise? Where can I go and relax and simply listen? Because, quite honestly, I’m desperate for the important to rise up and for the urgent to fade away.

I haven’t got this one figured out…I’m still on my journey which will look different in a few months and a few years and a few decades.

Lord, thank You for providing Yourself as a place of rest and the Sabbath day as an appointed time of rest. Help me come to You in that place in time and see opportunities for little solitudes throughout the day.

“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven.” Psalm 107:29-30

Where do you discover solitude? When do you set aside distractions and the noisy onslaught to focus on resting in God’s presence?

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