I can actually see why some might see it as punishment. I don't know about you, but when I got in trouble as a child, what did my parents tell me to do? Go to my room. Alone. "And don't make a sound." What my parents didn't realize was that, even as a child, I was an introvert. These two things aren't always connected but I also realized later when I became a Christian that I am a contemplative. So, my parents never realized it but, that punishment was not at all punishment to me. I loved and still love being by myself. As an introvert, time alone recharges my social batteries. As a contemplative, it is how I best connect with God.
When I was single with no children finding solitude was exceptionally easy. Now that I am married and have two children in my house, it has become a discipline for me. So my time of solitude comes early in the morning. I awake between 5 and 5:30 almost every day (even my days off) for a time of quiet, scripture reading and contemplation. Around 6:30 the time is comes to a natural end by the need to feed a baby or get a little boy dressed for school. These days, other than vacation and retreats, that is all I get, but it is enough for now.
So how about you? Are you engaging in the discipline of solitude this week? Or, is it already part of your life? Post a comment below and let us know what this looks like for you.