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For the sake of others

by davesandel on January 14th, 2012

Practices from Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton

From Chaper 12, “For the Sake of Others”

Let him who cannot be alone beware of community … Let him who is not in community beware of being alone. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

As you enter into solitude and silence today, allow yourself to sit qui­etly for a time—ten minutes at least—and just enjoy the presence of the One who is always present with you. Notice how your capacity to be present to God has changed or shifted as you have entered into the practices of solitude and silence more intentionally.

After you have spent time just enjoying God’s presence, invite him to show you a time or times in recent days when the quality of your presence with others has seemed different. Perhaps you experienced an increased capacity to feel and trust love in a particular relation­ship. Perhaps you experienced a flash of wisdom or discernment that you were courageous enough to follow, and you were surprised by the result. Perhaps you were self-aware enough to hold back a critical or manipulative comment and offer a more edifying one instead. Per­haps in a difficult moment you rested into God rather than reacting with panic.

Ask God to help you to notice what he wants you to notice. Allow yourself to savor the transformation that this incident represents in your life.

Now identify the rhythms of solitude and silence that were in place in your life that seemed to bring this good fruit. Based on all of your experiences with solitude and silence prior to and during your interactions with this book, begin exploring and identifying your own rhythms for solitude and silence. Be as concrete and real­istic as possible. As you feel ready, tell God of your desire and your commitment.

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