Mark 6 feels like a tough few stories for Jesus. He is rejected in his hometown, he sends the disciples out for the first time, he does two rather significant miracles (feeding of the 5,000 and walking on water), and maybe most of all, someone close to him – his cousin John – is executed. It is no wonder that in verse 31 (which is before the two miracles), Jesus chooses to want to try to go to an isolated place by himself to pray.
I remember reading a little while back about finding and living the difference between loneliness and solitude. Loneliness is something that we rarely (if ever choose) but instead is rejection by others or even simply not being seen by others. It is a painful and difficult emotion. Solitude on the other hand is a choice. It is choosing to separate and to find silence and stillness. It is in those spaces that we can grieve, reflect, restore, renew, heal, and hope. I wonder what Jesus needed when he went off in solitude