Solitude and Community

I decided seven years ago to move from Missouri to Oregon. Roughly my modern day version of the Oregon Trail. I had high hopes of making a new life here, and to be fair, I have, just not in the way I expected.

I am finishing Walden, and in the chapter called “Former Inhabitants; and Winter Visitors,” Thoreau talks about the lack of human companionship during the snowy winter months, and how he would visit people in his memory for company. It is with the beautiful geography I have made friends, along with a few hardy souls here. In a waiting room a few years ago, I read a travel magazine in which the writer stated the Oregon coast was more beautiful than Costa Rica. Very surprising to me, but understandable.

In The Imaginative Conservative, this article1 confronts the loneliness of our times. It mentions two books that I have read, which stress the importance of community, and more specifically, conservative communities – The Benedictine Option by Rod Dreher, and Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. What these two books also say, is sometimes it is necessary to be in the world but not of it. During Germany’s pre-WWII and beginning years, Bonhoeffer ran an underground seminary, and his book is the story of how it actually worked.

That being said, the hiding of our identities behind masks, the stay at home orders, and the lack of human touch through certain businesses being shut down is cruel and inhumane treatment. Even the most introverted people – that would be me – crave some social time every now and then. Some of us do not have the local option of community. And social media helps.

While on the run from the Catholic Church and living in a redoubt at least part of the time, Martin Luther translated the Latin Bible into German for everyone to read. I have a plaque in my house that artistically says, “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” I could be bitter about my lack of local friendships, but I see it as a time of learning to be a writer. And as much as I despise this time of separation we are living, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”2


1Hattip to Glynn Young for The Imaginative Conservative link.

2The Romans 8:28 scripture is from the KJV.

My Five Sensorial Joys

  1. Soft socks. Pablo Neruda wrote Ode To My Socks, and I can relate. Bamboo fibers are the softest.
  2. Coffee with coconut sugar and coconut milk added. In my Oregon coffee cup.
  3. Pungent smell of the ocean when matter washes ashore.
  4. Stars on trash night. Makes a chore into a place of joy.
  5. Foghorn. Sadly, it is gone now. But I can hear it in my memories.

What are your sensorial joys? I would love for you to chime in.


Have a blessed weekend. One filled with joy, no matter your circumstances.

What Is Your Reputation?

The Bible says that your reputation is more valuable than gold. And I agree, that you have to make wise decisions, based on Holy Spirit’s wisdom. But even that can cause derision, because man’s ways are not God’s ways – He sees the future and knows how to either remove blockades or hold our hand while we plow or tiptoe through them.

But no matter how hard you try to keep your reputation clean, there are mess ups and downright libel/slander. It is the latter I want to address. The mess ups are under the blood of Jesus if we ask forgiveness and a way forward, not looking to the right or left or engaging with those who wish to throw our sins in our faces.

When I moved here, I moved from the Midwest – the Bible belt. I naively assumed that people are pretty much the same everywhere here in America. I did not account for cultural differences. I had made some decisions that were less than stellar, but for the most part everyone saw my mistakes as just that and allowed me to move on with grace. I knew I would be moving to a more liberal state, but again I thought people were basically the same.

After I moved here, God told me to not and I quote, “worship my reputation.” At the time I did not understand this. Curious wording, because I am an introvert and for the most part felt I was free of others opinions of me. I wanted a new start. But He saw my heart and knew I had work to be done in this area. He saw ahead of me and let me know He was in control by giving me fair warning. He knew and would walk me though what I found. On day one.

I am a huge privacy fan, but quickly saw there is none. I have always known this to be true, but it was exacerbated here. I was forced to keep walking. I stumbled much, but God kept me from major mistakes. I will always be a privacy advocate, but there is a silver lining to the lack of it. It forces you to either stay authentic, or expose you as a phony. It forced me to be me.

The second big thing He told me: to be me. Being yourself is right now a revolutionary act. There is no hiding. At all. To not be you is to die inside, to be a dead man walking as they say.

And as for the eyes of the gossipers, don’t look to the left or right. Sometimes that means filtering what you see or hear. Cherish those that God gives you to weather the storms.

For to give in to their distractions is to get your eye off the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ.

Inspiration Comes My Way, Part 1

My inspiration for writing projects usually doesn’t stem from butt-in-chair, or in my case a prop to make my chair more ergonomically fitting. And they almost always don’t come from writing exercises – I have an aversion to these prompts.

Sitting down and writing the types of activities that inspire me deep dives into how I roll. I do get most of my blog posts by butt-in-chair. Which begs the question what is the real difference here? Is it writing small essays vs. fiction? Maybe.

After I got settled here in Oregon, I got most of my inspiration by walking. My haikus usually came to me this way. The beauty of the coastline is great material for these, as well as further inland.

I have reorganized my project starts and finished most of the smaller ones and a few medium sized ones. Finishing them clears room for more inspiration to flow through my head. Too many can overwhelm and freeze my writing. Just a few in my project folders is the right fit.

Part 2 tomorrow…