Saturday, January 20, 2024

The Comfort of Solitude: The Peace of Place

 It is scary how much I enjoy my time at home.

Like really love it.

I am an Introvert.

A true one, that INFJ on the Myers-Briggs, the very rare three-percent.  Now, I'm in good company, they tell us that those other Advocates include President Jimmy Carter and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Idealists and faith-filled people who observe the world from a wholistic position to think of how it can be better.

And homebodies.

Even if their bodies are not at home, they are more comfortable in solitude.

In my theological imagination, I've often said that the man, Jesus, was INFJ. So were some of his disciples.

I believe my late father also had this personality type and when he wasn't advocating for social justice in my second hometown, he was ensconced in his home library reading.

He was the one who introduced me to the love of story and the comfort of a good library. From him, I gained my awe of the local town library or bookstores.

The other thing he taught me was that there is a resiliency that comes with being from a place, even if adopting that place, and that there was some power in being sure your home could hold all your dreams. He showed me how to love what I have and to make the most of it.

It has been cold in the Northeast, like much of the country, and I don't have all my winter gear with me, so thinking about the lessons of my father turned me to my kitchen to see what I could make.

Yesterday, I made a pot of black beans and mixed rice. Only with the seasonings I had at home, it wasn't my best and could have used the sautéed onions, but it was comforting. Same with the homemade biscuits I made to go with it.

By that time, I had been been in the house for days and had no desire to get out in the freezing cold.

And I knew the place that privilege afforded me.

Today wasn't different. I made coffee at home, had a nice smoothie for breakfast, and enjoyed an Affagado for evening dessert. That is what made. me think about how comfortable I've made this place, this dwelling.

I have never needed crowds or approval, not even the influencer type that has everyone tripping all over themselves to tell every moment of their lives for TikTok, Instagram, or YouTube. I'm good over here in the quiet hum of the stove fan or the occasional churning of the electronic ice machine. I'm comfortable in my solitude.

What is it about being fully aware and at peace with oneself that we often miss it as Americans who rarely, if ever, just take the time to be present with their thoughts? Are we, the collective we, afraid of what may speak in the silence? Are we afraid of what we may confront about ourselves and this country Are we just so used to being cogs-in-a-wheel that say our only worth is if others can see us and ascribe some value to our existence?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately as I journey toward another milestone (thank God!) birthday of existing in this space called Earth. 

How have I lived into my gifts and calling? How can I do more? Will I make an impact if I am not comfortable with my own thoughts and have taken the time to analyze them before going out in the world? How much am I rested and able to be my full Empath self in the spaces where I encounter so much hurt and pain? Is being at home replenishing or is it just my safe space? Or both?

I ponder a lot.

While sipping on my Affagado with locally made ice cream, relishing the taste of the hand poured coffee directly brewed onto my ice cream in this handmade little demitasse, all I could ponder was how many people have a safe space to just be complete in their thoughts? To not see going shopping as entertainment, but to really just stand and look at the snow or at the red bird that was outside my window today. What are we missing and what can we reclaim?

There is something to be said about peace and having a place where one's soul is quiet.

That for me is my home in the cold winter months. I like my books, my coffee, my comfy blankets, my cozy socks, and my oversized sweat pants. I enjoy being "in" and have no desire to be seen. Maybe that makes me like the bears in our state who hibernate during the winter months. Not sure yet, but even when the kids were home for the holidays, I just wanted to watch them, didn't want to go out. I only did if they drove. 

So if I could utter a dream or prayer for what is still unfolding in 2024 that will be a very challenging and complicated year; it is that everyone can find peace, solicitude, and comfort in their dwelling. Ultimately, isn't that what every human being desires? I pray for them to have what they need so they can spend time attending to their soul and not to survival. I know what is happening in the world and what has been lost when people do not have peace in their place.

For these past few days that I've been able to be inside before my vocation calls me back out, I am being sure to inhale in the sound of silence and the comfort it brings. I want it to be a practice, to still my heart, to quiet my soul, to settle my spirit. Then, when I am at renewal and filled with peace, I am ready to step across the threshold, in my layers and heaviest coat I can find, and see what the world is saying.

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