I am one who does not mind being alone. For some, that is not a pleasant thing, but for me, I need “alone-time” as my wife and I call it. I am usually the last one to bed and the first one up in the morning because those are times for just me – sometimes to read, sometimes to listen to music, sometimes to watch TV, sometimes to play Xbox, sometime to pray, sometimes to just be silent. There are some times that this need is stronger than at other times, but its generally there. This doesn’t mean that I don’t like people – I generally do. But I need time where its just me.
I understand completely where Jesus was coming from in what I read in this chapter. First, his cousin and “colleague” John is executed. Jesus is understandably grieving this loss and he tries to get away, but the crowds still find him. I love the response that even though he was grieving and wanting to be alone, he still has compassion on them and eventually leads to one of the miraculous feedings. Later, it seems that he wants some more time to himself and “immediately” sends the disciples away while he dismisses the crowds (as a former youth volunteer in my high school youth group used to say, “you have homes…go to them” when the night was done). These aren’t the only times that Jesus wants and needs to get away.
Whether one is an introvert (in the MBTI definition of the term) or an extrovert (again, MBTI), there is a need we all have for time alone. Time to let the many other voices and noises of life fade into the background, to be able to listen and talk with God, to reflect on the day, to just be. This picture is from one of my favorite places – a place I go several times a month – sometimes with my family or others, but often just myself. I love just getting out there, climbing these steps, and being just in the midst of Creation and listening to what I hear around me or what I hear within me.