11 God said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 1 Kings 19:11-12
I recently borrowed a biography called Paul McCartney: The Life from the library and used a forklift to bring it home. Philip Norman's impressive volume is more than 800 pages in length and I decided to check out the first couple of hundred pages out of curiosity about the early days of a band that produced some of the most ear-catching, then innovative music of the rock and roll era. John, Paul, George and Ringo were portrayed as the Fab Four, fun-loving guys who became teen idols around the world. The song writing duo of Lennon & McCartney -- or McCartney & Lennon -- was one of the greats, developing out of a shared teen passion for music.
Eventually the cracks began to appear in the care-free façade and differences of opinion became serious arguments and alienation. Eventually Paul left, or was pushed out on such bad terms with the others that he was in a deep depression.
Paul fled the intense public scrutiny to the farm he had purchased near Kintyre, in Scotland. He went with Linda , the love of his life and there he busied himself with fixing up the old farmhouse and recording an album which was his first significant post-Beatles enterprise. Although Linda was a New York photojournalist she loved the outdoors and later wrote; "It was like nothing I ever living in before. The most beautiful land you've ever seen...way at the end of nowhere."
Many of us have experiences of serious soul work taking place in solitude and silence. Sometimes it is so that we can be healed from emotional trauma and sometimes it is the opportunity for creativity which the bustle of daily living doesn't afford. Often we listen for the voice of God heard through wind and waves and the "sound of sheer silence," to borrow from the story of the exhausted Elijah in the biblical book of Kings.
I ended up reading all 800+ pages Philip Norman's biography. He is an excellent writer. I was entertained, but also intrigued by Paul's love of the wild places for restoration.
Many of you are aware of my love of solitude and the natural world. Any observations of your own? Could you live well off the beaten track? Do you encounter God in the wild places? Is there a particular place for you?