The human spirit seems to crave the touch, sight, sound, and smell of the many natural, beautiful things around us. Often, as we tire of the hustle and bustle of our human world, we look forward to the quiet and solitude of the natural world; away from the buildings, noise, and people.  A sense of peace and pleasure often comes with this escape into quiet, simple beauty and solitude.

On the other hand, too much solitude is difficult to endure for most of us and reminds me of this vagary of our human spirit.  Too little solitude or time alone, can be stressful; as the needs and demands of others add pressures that pile up and become burdensome.  While on the other hand, too much solitude can be destructive to the human spirit.  Apparently finding the right balance is a key to our social, psychological, and spiritual well-being.

Solitude is used by our prison systems as punishment.  The loneliness and sufferings of those who experience the sensory deprivations of solitary confinement emphasize how much the human spirit craves and appreciates contact with other people and things.  Yet, time spent in limited solitude can be very useful for reflection, prayer, introspection, and constructive change. These things can lead to new understandings, growth and maturation.

For those of us living in the busy, people-filled environments of our inner cities, solitude can also consist of just being apart from people and enjoying people free places, like our natural world’s attractions.  Nature can often be a “de-stressor” and a soothing, healing therapy for some people.  It may also lead to appreciations of different life forms, places, and colors of the natural world that “restore the human spirit or soul.”

Nature itself often operates best if left undisturbed and in solitude, far from the influence of people who alter those natural landscapes.  Sometimes the rarest plants and animals are only found in remote places not visited much by people.  Wouldn’t it be nice if people could learn to respect and harmonize more with nature by disturbing it as little as possible and protecting it from development?

We sometimes need reminding about the need for balance in our lives.  This need not only includes balancing our solitude wisely, but also preserving and protecting those restorative, natural places and things that provide us with the needed solitude that is so important to our health and well-being.  If we are to stay a healthy human society, we must balance our greedy drive to develop and destroy the natural, restorative places, with a concern for the health and well-being of those places and things..

Good, well-balanced stewardship of our natural resources are expected of practicing Christians; not the destruction and exploitation that seem common today.  God’s creativity is explained in the Bible’s Book of Genesis (Ch.1:26-31).  In verse 26, God endows mankind with “…dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air and the cattle, and all the creatures that crawl on the ground….”  ‘Dominion” can be interpreted in many ways.  Some choose to interpret it as doing whatever we please with creation; others say it means responsibility for managing it wisely, or good stewardship.

In Gen. 1:31, God observes all He created and “found it very good.”  This means that what God created is good, for us too; so it merits protection and conservation.  Verse 28 reads, “God created man in His image, in the divine image he created him….”  Most of us know that God’s divine image is a loving and caring one.  If we are to truly be this divine image, we must be good, wise stewards of God’s creation; before it is no longer there to sustain us and provide the solitude, balance and comfort that God intends.