Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The relation of lonely places to the true self

The calling of the secret place

There is a great need for community in faith, and this in vitality and integrity; however, there is not much said about silence and the lonely places, and the role they play in developing our true self [or, in exposing the lack thereof]. When Jesus sought refreshment of soul, He also sought the secret place, silence and communion with the Father. It's not surprising then that He links real faith development and answered prayer with "the secret place." He takes it as a matter of fact, for life in the kingdom, that each kingdom participant will dwell richly in the secret place, 'praying to the Father who sees in secret and rewards in open.'

Along that line, MacDonald talks about nature as exposing the true self: she or he who cannot enjoy nature alone will not enjoy nature more in company of others... unless this company helps to hide what s/he sees inside, in light of nature. It is a provocative thought:

There is a good deal counted social which is merely gregarious. Doubtless humanity is better company than a bare hill-side; but not a little depends on how near we come to the humanity, and how near we come to the hill. I doubt if one who could not enjoy a bare hill-side alone, would enjoy that hill-side in any company; if he thought he did, I suspect it would be that the company enabled him, not to forget himself in what he saw, but to be more pleasantly aware of himself than the lone hill would permit him to be; -- for the mere hill has its relation to that true self which the common self is so anxious to avoid and forget.


George MacDonald, "The Girls' First Walk," What's Mine is Mine, 12.

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