Saturday, October 31, 2009


Last Sunday, I spent the afternoon in my kayak on Armond bayou. Sunday found me in somewhat of a fog, and after we got home from church, I felt myself slipping into a spiral of frustration and self pity. Sundays are always a little tough for me. When you work in the church, Sundays are always the busiest day of the week. I used to love Sunday, because it was as if the culmination of all the work from the week before was coming to fruition. I used to feel as if I was releasing all the love that God had been building up in me all week to the incredible people that I was blessed to minister to. I love the local church, but I have to admit: I do not look forward to Sundays as much these days.

So, before the spiral slipped to a point of no return, I decided to get out of the house. I glanced at the lawn. Usually yard work helps to clear my mind, but the length hadn’t reached that critical point, so I couldn’t justify pulling out the mower. I glanced at my running shoes. Running is always great therapy for me, but since I can only squeeze out about 30 minutes these days, it seemed like too quick a solution. Then I glanced at my bag of kayak gear. The thought of disconnecting myself from land seemed to be very appealing, and the thought of disconnecting myself from reality, if only for a few hours, seemed even better.

Armond Bayou is an amazing place. In the midst of our fast paced culture, it’s a sanctuary for animals, birds and the soul. Oh yeah; there are alligators too, and lots of them! But once you venture out a mile or so into the twists and turns of the various inlets, you cannot imagine that just over the tree lines lies suburbia. Without the sounds of cars, construction and everyday life, you hear each animal scuttle through the salt grass. Fish break the water and turtles slide off the banks as you glide past on the glass-like liquid that carries you along. It reminds me of climbing into your bed after a hard day and covering yourself up with your blankets. The outside world vanishes for a while and you create a new temporary reality.

There was a time in my life when I dreaded being alone. For me, solitude was isolation, and isolation was far too connected to loneliness. As a person who has recovered from severe depression, I can now see that being alone is not such a bad thing. The problem is not solitude in and of itself, but rather why we choose solitude. When you deal with depression, there are times when you feel isolated 24/7. It’s a great feeling to choose being alone, because you enjoy being alone.

The Bible tells us that Jesus often withdrew from the crowds of people that surrounded Him to be alone and pray. Luke 5:15 says that the news of what Jesus was doing was spreading so much “that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” There are two very significant points in this verse. One, Jesus’ popularity was growing at a very fast pace at this point. And two, Jesus still needed time to get away and immerse Himself in solitude.

I find it funny how the busier we get doing things for God, the less with we spend with God? And yet Jesus saw the importance of isolating Himself with the father, no matter how large the crowds were. And He saw this as an imperative; before the people smothered Him.

We dig deeper when crowds push in. We immerse ourselves within the waves of humanity, that rush overhead, and then wonder why be can’t breathe. Peace is found at the shore, waiting and watching for what God is doing in those that we minster to. I can see them. And they do just fine with my isolation. Jesus saw them as well, and yet after His time of solitude, He still confronted the Pharisees and healed a paralytic man. Pretty cool example.

"Kayak Solitude" - Watercolor by Judi McWilliams -


Anonymous said...

There is something to be said for isolation. I feel the need to do the same often. I an era of Blackberry's, schedules and not making enough time to just sleep, this too falls by the wayside. I found peace flying. Being all alone in the air was my Rx for depression. I have always wanted to take to the small inlets and nooks of Texas' waterways. I will have to experiment with your therapy as well. Take care and all the best.p.s. I enjoy the art work that goes with your posts.

Jake Kampe said...

Thanks John. As for the art, I am very blessed to the artists out there that allow me to used their work. I'm always amazed that I have never been not to use a particular image. I need to tell you the story of how I got permission to use the photo for my blog banner! Pretty cool!

Anonymous said...

I will check my schedule for next week and see when we can meet up.