It was there, in my room, listening to the Beach Boys, where I fell in love with solitude and silence. Yes, I was miserable and frustrated, but for the first time in my life I was forced to slow down and think about the things that mattered most to me. Was I praying? I’m not sure. I was just alone, but not lonely. In a very strange way, it was good for me.
I recovered from the mono and quickly resumed my performance-driven and hectic pace of life, a blur for the most part, going to college in Nashville, joining a fraternity, meeting a girl and getting married. That took only three years.
Although my soul craved it, I rarely stepped away to enjoy that perspective-saving time that only silence and solitude can deliver. It cost me dearly. Psychologists call it codependence. Cool people call it FOMO—The Fear of Missing Out.
That thing, whatever you want to call it, derailed my soul’s longing and sabotaged the calling I felt was on my life. I admit that I am powerless over FOMO. It is an addiction that finally brought me to my knees, but only after I lost everything, including my first marriage, my career and any shred of self-confidence.
I’m recovering today from the hot mess that I once was, and one of the ways I allow the healing to continue in my life is through making time for that much-needed silence and solitude. I like to refer to it as a rendezvous with myself in the presence of God. For me, it is not a luxury. It’s a life and death thing. There’s no substitute for time alone “in my room” as the Beach Boys sang to me 6 decades ago.
There’s a world where I can go
And tell my secrets to
In my room
In my room
Jesus said, “Go into your room, and shut the door.” Your life may depend upon it.
Your story sounds like mine, David. Geez, it’s creepy to read someone else writing about your own life. I first heard FOMO from Tara Brach. I listen to her talks often. I want to share something I found and I write it frequently.( my way of imprinting my brain and soul…writing.)
However softly we speak, God is so close to us that He/She can hear us, nor do we need wings to go in search of him, but merely seek solitude and contemplate Him/Her within ourselves, without being surprised to find such a good Guest there.” John the Cross
And, I love John of the Cross. I learn from Jim Finley.
David do you know my friend Michele Pillar? http://prez.ly/Nj5b
She is doing a fund raiser for Closer to Home which benefits Vanderbilt.
You can see info at Closertohomebenefit.org also.
I’m am enjoying your reflections on life!
Just now read this, David. I knew you at the time you are writing about here. I think it’s taken me decades to learn the value of silence and solitude, after seeing approval and affirmation in so many places for so long. Now I can find it right here, in the quiet, when I’m listening. Thank you for sharing! Well-written and very helpful.