Friday, November 9, 2007

Solitude in Quakerism

I have been reading about Quaker faith and practice this morning. I wanted to share this quotation from one woman writing in the early 20th century. I am continually struggling with the degree of solitude that suits my personality, and I liked the perspective in this quotation:"The amount of solitude which is attainable or would be wholesome in the case of any individual life is a matter which each of us must judge for himself... A due proportion of solitude is one of the most important conditions of mental health. Therefore if it be our lot to stand apart from those close natural ties by which life is for most people shaped and filled, let us not be in haste to fill the gap; let us not carelessly or rashly throw away the opportunity of entering into that deeper and more continual acquaintance with the unseen and eternal things which is the natural and great compensation for the loss of easier joys. The loneliness which we rightly dread is not the absence of human faces and voices - it is the absence of love... Our wisdom therefore must lie in learning not to shrink from anything that may be in store for us, but so to grasp the master key of life as to be able to turn everything to good and fruitful account."Caroline E Stephen, 1908

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