God calls us to spend some days in darkness. The Christian story is filled with accounts of the devout who suffer for Christ or didn’t live to reach the prize. As today’s scripture says, Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised (v. 39).
Some days our Christian walk is lonely. We feel abandoned, and
wonder what lurks around the corner. Fear descends from the trees.
But lonely walks can also renew and rejuvenate. They give us a
different point of view. Removed from the clamor of city noise and
pinging phones, we clear our thoughts and refocus. As the recent
global pandemic receded, central Europeans flocked to forests.
According to a study the BBC highlighted, the woods “remain a crit-
ical infrastructure for national public health and societies at large.”
The Germans have a word for this: Waldeinsamkeit. Roughly defined as “solitude of the forest,” it reflects their centuries-old love for the woods and how they go there to find a source of renewal. Think of Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, and all the tales the Brothers Grimm collected. The late playwright Stephen Sondheim interwove many of these tales into his musical Into the Woods, which ends with a benediction on the difficulty of walking alone and the necessity of spending time in the woods. The path may be dark and the choices grim, but the experience offers ways to learn, to grow and to reflect.
Into the woods you go again You have to every now and then Into the woods, no telling when Be ready for the journey.
When have you found renewal and rejuvenation in a time of solitude and uncertainty?
God, when the way is not what we expected, help us understand that you are there, walking it with us. Amen.