You would think that loving others and solitude are separate concepts, but Merton and Nouwen both say they are one and the same. Merton tells us “we are meant to love others” (p. 17), while Nouwen tells us solitude “does not pull us away from our fellow human beings but instead makes real fellowship possible . . . . solitude not only deepens our affection for others but also is the place where real community becomes possible” (p. 42-43).
In my spiritual life I too have experienced a deepened affection for others when I have had ample time of solitude. When I have time alone I feel refreshed and centered and ready to talk to and interact with others. That solitude helps me make sure I have my own act together and thus allows me to focus on others and have true fellowship with them when interacting.
Question: Does solitude help you to love others?