Tuesday, September 25, 2007

How to Kill a Mouse...

One writer notes an experiment done with mice a few years ago. A researcher found that it takes a high dose of amphetamines to kill a mouse living in solitude. But a group of mice will start hopping around and hyping each other up so much that a dosage twenty times smaller will be lethal - so great is the effect of "the world" on mice. In fact, a mouse that had been given no amphetamines at all, placed in a group on the drug, will get so hopped up that in ten minutes or so it will be dead. "In groups they go off like popcorn or firecrackers,” the writer observed. (The Life You've Always Wanted, John Ortberg).

There are times in our lives, when we simply need to pull away from everything that surrounds us and find a place of solitude. A place to reflect. A place to reconnect with ourselves and our God.

Throughout the Gospels we frequently find Jesus doing just that - pulling away - to a place by Himself. He understood what the experiment with the lab mice demonstrate, though there's strength in numbers, there are times we simply need to spend alone.

For the past couple of years I've recognized this to be especially true with me. In the rhythm of my life, I need times alone to re-center, focus, get clarity on where I'm at, what I'm doing, how I'm spending my time and perhaps most importantly, time to simply be with God. Sages of days gone by called this solitude. Last year I spent several days in an old log cabin located on a Christmas tree farm up in the Thumb of Michigan, next to the middle-of-no-where. But that's what I wanted. That's exactly what I needed. No snazzy coffee shops to run off to. No allurement of techy stores. Simply dirt roads, trails, wooden floors, a fire place, my bible, journal and the presence of God. I've done these trips alone and with the companionship of a friend. I've found these times key in gaining insight and clarity into the big picture of my life, family, ministry, etc... I'm doing things right now-this fall as a result of some specific direction God gave me last fall while I was away.

Regardless of who we are, where we're at or what our personalities are, we like Jesus need times of solitude.

Without solitude we remain victims of our society and continue
to be entangled in the illusions of the false self."
(The Way of the Heart, Henry Nouwen)

Solitude is not merely a therapeutic place. Rather Nouwen says,"it is the place of conversion, the place where the old self dies and the new self is born, the place where the emergence of the new man and the new woman occurs."

Officially Fall has just begun, but it has been one busy-run thus far. I've had several mentally/physically energy and time consuming projects that I've been working on... All that being said, I'm especially looking forward to this Saturday's One-Day Spiritual Retreat.

If it's been a while since you "pulled away" from all the other mice, this Saturday may very well be just what you're needing...


Mark said...

I've never taken a one-day spiritual retreat, but desperately sense a need within my soul to pull away from everything that's pressing in on me. I've always been a little intimated by taking a day away. What if God doesn't speak to me? What if I can't handle the silence? What if...? Yet, I know deep within I need this and should make time to do so...

Hermi said...

I saw you running down Miami Rd. yesterday, or at least I think that was you.

I often pull away to the parks in the summer time and early fall. I always miss doing that after the weather changes.

I haven't tried to pull away while running.