In 1960, five young men found themselves outside the imposing gates of St. Hugh’s Charterhouse, Parkminster, located in West Sussex, England. Their backgrounds were different, but they shared the same goal: to live alone with God.
Each of these young men had chosen St. Hugh’s Charterhouse, which was home to one of the Western world’s most austere monastic orders, known as the Carthusians. Some of these young men came from other monastic orders. All were seeking a deeply ascetic life to focus on their relationship with God.
“There’s a difference between solitude and loneliness. …
You carry it inside you, like a benign tumor. Except it’s not entirely benign. Emotional pain hurts. The source and intensity will vary from person to person, but the symptoms are similar.
Sadness, grief, despair, anger, hopelessness, and regret. To name a few.
No one gets to escape emotional pain. Sooner or later we all experience it. Some of us get off lightly. Maybe we lose our job or navigate a divorce. No fun, but survivable.
For others, things can be devastating. They lose a spouse to cancer, or endure years of horrific victimization.
Traumatizing events may pass, but the memories remain. They feel like a heavy weight, pulling you below the surface waters of your life, into depths of suffocating sadness. …
Three things happened recently that eroded some of the joy in my life. The incidents caused me to reflect deeply about where I’ve been, where I’m headed, and the inevitability of change.
The first incident occurred while walking my dogs. Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic, someone in my neighborhood started leaving painted rocks along the sidewalks and footpaths.
The rocks included encouraging sayings like, “Be safe” and “Joy.” Every time I saw the rocks, they made me smile. They reassured me that good people live among us, and we need one another to get through tough times.