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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Solitude or Isolation?

Whoever pulls away from others to focus solely on his own desires disregards any sense of sound judgment.  (Proverbs 18:1 VOICE)

Joseph Roux stated, "Solitude vivifies; isolation kills."  You might have to mull that one over a little to really get the meat of it, but in essence he is saying moving into a place of being secluded is a little different than totally isolating one's self from others.  We all need a little solitude now and again - just to recharge our batteries.  In a medical sense, the only time we use isolation is when we are trying to control the spread of a very bad disease!

At times, a place of solitude becomes a place where we empty ourselves of all the stuff which has been gathering within us and draining us of our energies. In a place of solitude, we get a moment to breathe, to just "chill" - in so doing, we are actually lightening our burden and getting ready for the next steps we might be considering taking.  Some might equate solitude with isolation, but one accomplishes rest while the other "quarantines" one away from others, depriving the one isolated from the contact with others even when they might desire that contact.

I usually find some time for solitude at some regular intervals - because without it, I don't "recharge" quite as well.  It is hard to have the regular demands of life placed upon you day after day without some time to recharge.  When we move into that place of solitude we don't always have to be alone.  In fact, some of my best times of recharging are just "hanging out" with a close friend, not really talking much, or doing any real purposeful activity - we are just enjoying the place of purposeful rest we find ourselves in.  

Solitude is purposeful - isolation is restrictive and kind of desolate.  Many patients who are placed into isolation tell us they feel a little "left out" and maybe not even visited as much as they'd have liked.  It may be because of the extreme amount of time and energies which go into donning mask, gloves, gowns, and the like each and every time you make contact with that individual, or it may just be that the barriers between that person and the one all covered in protective gear actually act as a little bit of a barrier emotionally.  

Isolation actually does something pretty significant - it disconnects us emotionally from others.  Solitude recharges us for those contacts again - allowing us to come back into those connections re-energized and able to fully invest in those relationships again.  The difference between these two is significant - one isolates us further, while the other prepares us for what is ahead. Just sayin!