Jesus, in Mark 1:29-39 demonstrates and interesting balance between community and solitude. He is with his community (James, John, Peter, Andrew, the disciples), he ministers to his extended community (Peter's mother-in-law), he is almost forced into ministering to the community at large (the whole town), he retreats to a solitary place with God, and then he engages with his community (the disciples) and reaches out into other communities (nearby villages).
Parker Palmer writes,
But most of us in our daily lives exist neith in solitdue nor in community, but somewhere in between. We sacrifice both forms and contest of truth. Seldom are we truly alone, and seldome are we truly in relationship to others; This is the vacuousness of mass society and mass education: our lives alternate between collective busyness and individeaul isolation, but rarely allow for an authentically solitary or experience. In this halve-live dmiddle ground, our solitude is loneliness and our attempts at commuiny are fleeting and defeating We are alone in the crowd, unable to touch the heart of love in ourselves or to touch others in a ways that draw out the heart.
I think we can balance community and solitude without sacrificing both.
When was the last time that you truly engaged in solitude? Do you exist in the half-lived middle ground where solitude is loneliness?
When was the last time that you truly engaged in community? Do you exist in the half-lived middle ground where community is fleeting/defeating?