It was said of Abba Theodore of Pherme that the three things to be held fundamental were: poverty, asceticism and flight from men.
I made a New Year’s Resolution to spend a day a month in solitude. I have not been as disciplined with that resolution as I have been with reading the Bible and skateboarding everyday. So, yesterday I hit the road at 5:45 a.m. and fled to the Grand Canyon. I made it to the park entrance at exactly 9 a.m., paid my entrance fee, parked my car, got on the free shuttle and was at the South Kaibab trailhead at 9:30 a.m.
I spent the next 2 hours and 15 minutes hiking down the 6.8 miles to the Colorado River. Although it is an almost 5,000 ft. elevation change it is fairly easy. There were a number of friendly people on the trail heading to Phantom Ranch but I was alone for long stretches. It is such a beautiful, rugged and lonely place. Yes! It was just what the doctor ordered. I was long overdue for some goof off time with the Lord. Time to just be.
After a 15 minute break for lunch at the Bright Angel Campground I started up Bright Angel. It was 85 degrees in the shade and I was weary. It took 1 1/2 hours to hike to Indian Garden where I got more water and soaked my hat and shirt. 2 hours later, after some vigorous hiking, I was at the Bright Angel Trailhead. I was exhausted. I realized just how out of it I was when I kept greeting people with “Good Morning” when I knew we were well into the afternoon. It was not until I called my wife that I realized that I had lost my voice.
Losing your voice on a solitude day is perfect. A solitude day is a day that gives God enough time and space to act in our lives. A solitude day is intended to clear away the distractions in order to hear the voice of the Lord instead of our own. Time in solitude is an exercise in remembering that we are not what we do and that we are worth more than results.