"Hiddenness is an essential quality of the spiritual life.
Solitude, silence, ordinary tasks, being with people
without great agendas, sleeping, eating, working, playing...
all of that without being different from others,
that is the life that Jesus lived
and the life he asks us to live.
It is in hiddenness that we,
like Jesus, can increase
"in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God
and with people" (Luke 2:51).
It is in hiddenness that we can find
a true intimacy with God and a true love for people.
Even during his active ministry, Jesus continued to return to hidden places to be alone with God. If we don't have a hidden life with God, our public life for God cannot bear fruit."
Henri J. Nouwen
The words of this quote by Henri Nouwen resonate as so true to my life experience. It becomes quite evident to me, and to the people I do life with, when it is time for me to retreat to a place of hiddenness. This hiddenness may mean saying "no" to a myriad of visible activities and public engagements or responsibilities in order to return to a rhythm of simpler, ordinary activities of life - washing laundry, hanging out over breakfast with my daughter, walking for miles while talking with God about "everything". Sometimes it looks like writing a note to a friend, talking to my son for an hour on the phone, pulling weeds and admiring the flowers, or gazing at a summer sunset. The simple, hidden moments may be filled with reading a good book or enjoying dinner and casual conversation with my husband, or helping out at the local homeless shelter.
Other times, my hiddenness must look like retreating with God alone in solitude and silence. Having a regular rhythm, as Jesus did during His life on earth, is not only a necessity for my soul's health, but it is a treasured, precious gift. Uninterrupted, unrushed time and space with the Lover of my soul! What's not to like about that?
Yes, these are all expressions of hiddenness in my life. They fuel and enrich my spiritual life and grow my intimacy with Jesus and the people He loves so dearly.
I wonder....what does your "hiddenness" look like this summer?