Some days the beauty of life seems to confound us in ways that are quite remarkable. Then there are those dark days when life has lost its song and even its purpose. This is the journey of Solace of Solitude. It flows from exquisite joy to the deep shadows of despair. But this despair is not final and in fact is a necessary part of our journey toward completion, where the beauty of life becomes so pervasive, that life's bumps can't jar us loose from the tranquility and peace that fills our minds.
The first nine meditations of this book were written while the author was experiencing completion and happiness in her personal life, yet was plagued by the sad events of 9/11. These meditations were written to find consolation and to help others come to a more consoling resolution to their problems.
The situation suddenly changed with the death of the author's beloved companion, a cat named Rochester. Jan found that her thinking and approach to the subjects she had planned to discuss were radically altered. Rochester became the instrument for exposing her to a new view of life and death. Part 2 is a description of what she has done, experienced and realized as a result of Rochester's passing. It is a study of "afterlife" experiences and the peace and understanding that now control her existence.
Jan feels that these wonderful realizations could not have come without being alone within her heart and mind - they could not have occurred without solitude. Through this solitude she was able to achieve solace, a much different experience than simple closure. Perhaps by going aside in solitude you also will find solace in life and better understand the anatomy of grief.
"Jan Kolb is a truly selfless author. Rather than assert her own viewpoint on solace and emotional healing, she gently presents many diverse views, from familiar and unfamiliar sources alike. Then she gives us a gentle push of encouragement, from which we can draw strength. This is her gift. In SOLACE OF SOLITUDE, Jan Kolb lovingly shares that gift." Martin Scot Kosins, author of Maya's First Rose
"While some of the experiences that Jan Kolb relates in SOLACE OF SOLITUDE may seem astounding or incredible, be assured that Jan's writing is honest and true. Her prose and poetry are a testament to the awesome power of faith and belief. Amazing things can and do happen, when we allow ourselves to be open to them." Mark Sardella, columnist, The Wakefield Daily Item, Wakefield, MA
"For all those suffering a loss of a dear spirit in their life - whether human or animal - this wonderful new book by Janice Gray Kolb will serve as a compassionate and understanding companion. It has been said that everyone deals with grief in his/her own way, but very often, people are too stricken and numbed to deal with their grief at all. In SOLACE OF SOLITUDE, Janice joins her heart and soul with that of the readers and guides them to a path that will bring peace and understanding. We found that we were reading aloud many of her beautiful poems describing various afterlife visits again and again. Thank you, Janice Gray Kolb, for another marvelous contribution to spiritual growth and a greater realization of the true depth of our journey to eternity." Brad Steiger & Sherry Hansen Steiger, authors of Christmas Miracles, Animal Miracles, and Cat Miracles
Table of Contents
A Word in Preparation by Robert A. Kolb, Jr.
Meditation 1. The Voice of Jesus
Meditation 2. Sing a New Song
Meditation 3. Lost in Time
Meditation 4. There Is Only One You
Meditation 5. In God We Trust
Meditation 6. Dreams
Meditation 7. Give Ye Them to Eat
Meditation 8. The Mercy B.A.N.D
Meditation 9. Magic Frigates
Meditation 1. Silence and Solitude
Meditation 2. Love Letters in the Sand
Meditation 3. All Heroes Are Not People
Meditation 4. Thoughtfulness
Meditation 5. He Kissed Me
Meditation 6. The Solace of Journaling
Meditation 7. A Meeting
Meditation 8. Things Remembered
Meditation 9. A December Collection of Joy
Meditation 10. A Spiritual Anniversary
Meditation 11. I Am Here
Meditation 12. Strengthen Me with Faith
Meditation 13. I Am with You
Meditation 14. Sensitivity to Others
Meditation 15. Encounters at Alpha
Meditation 16. God of Grace and Love
Meditation 17. Further Powers
Meditation 18. Glorious Green
Meditation 19. I Remember You
Meditation 20. The Scriptures
Meditation 21. Sella
Meditation 22. You Are There!
Meditation 23. In Remembrance
Meditation 24. Light for My Journey
Meditation 25. A Confirmation
Meditation 26. A Light of Hope
Meditation 27. Give a Gift
Meditation 28. Signing
Meditation 29. Silence and Meditation
Meditation 30. High Places
Meditation 31. Devotedness
Meditation 32. Falling in Love
Meditation 33. The Solace of Plants
Meditation 34. Falling for Me
Meditation 35. Purple, Orange and White
Meditation 36. Ring Toss
Meditation 37. Rochester's Birthday
Meditation 38. My Little Comforter
Meditation 39. Our Black Bag
Meditation 40. Just Beyond the Veil
Meditation 41. A Rock in Your Pocket
Meditation 42. Nourish Your Soul
Meditation 43. Forever and Ever
Meditation 44. Our Mystical, Magical Tree
Meditation 45. Stopping Anger
Meditation 46. Everywhere
Meditation 47. The Solace of Gardening
Meditation 48. A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words
Meditation 49. Nature Journaling
Meditation 50. Hail Mary
Meditation 51. Let There Be Light
Meditation 52. Old Man of the Mountain
Meditation 53. Animals Are Forever
Meditation 54. A Case for Solace
Meditation 55. A Thin Veil
Meditation 56. Sorrowing and Grieving
Meditation 57. The Grassy Green Field
Meditation 58. Blessings on the Wind
Meditation 59. The Man in Black
Meditation 60. Finding Solace in Strengthening Actions
Meditation 61. It Will Always Be So
Meditation 62. To Think Upon
Meditation 63. Paws Article
Meditation 64. Our Poem-Prayer
Meditation 65. I Will Not Leave You Comfortless
Final Thoughts: ADCs
Hymn: A Time for God
The Voice of Jesus
. . . and they will listen to my voice.
-John 10:16 RSV
. . . the Spirit of truth . . . will guide you. . . .
Often I am in need of spiritual direction on a matter or matters in my life, and through the years I have been shown many ways in which to receive God's guidance. Frequently I am not able to receive it at once because I am impatient or filled with anxiety, thereby blocking what is available to me. When I am yielding and receptive, it is then that I experience His presence and am open to His words spoken to me in my spirit or through a book I am reading, or the Bible, or in any way He so chooses to speak. Occasionally He will speak through another individual.
Today I am sad and restless inside because a situation that my heart is wrapped up in is controlled by another. It has been in this state of immobility for a very long time, a year, waiting for the actions of another to set it free. It must remain this way until Jesus speaks to the heart of the one in control. Only Jesus can set it all free! Since the one in charge is a person who loves Jesus, I believe in time my prayers will cause the situation to be resolved. It is better Jesus speak than myself. But constant waiting on the actions of another is so difficult!
There is a means of prayer that I use that is just one of many that is most consoling and effective. This particular one, however, seems to bring a comforting response right away whenever I use it. It is a little exercise that I read several years ago in a daily devotional book (These Days) but that I added to and gave my own personal touches. I believe you will be helped by it also as you open yourself to listen to Christ's specific word to you. Perhaps you will share it.
1. Find a comfortable chair to sit in and for a few moments take time to close your eyes and pray to God. Ask for His guidance that through the power of the Holy Spirit you will hear the voice of Jesus. When you do-pray that you will not doubt.
2. Open your eyes and slowly look up from where you are seated. What do you see?
3. What you see is no doubt familiar. Look at it as if for the first time. Slowly describe it to yourself in great detail.
4. Imagine that somehow through what you see Jesus is trying to get a message across to you. What do you think it is?
5. If something ridiculous comes to mind immediately, do not worry. God has a sense of humor. Just go with whatever comes into your mind, silly or otherwise, until you reach a sense of quiet assurance in this and that you believe Jesus has spoken.
6. Silently, or in a whisper, or out loud, tell Christ what you will do with this message He has given you.
7. Now spend some time in silence and in gratitude to Jesus. Be still and quiet. Before ending the meditation open your heart to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
I have paused and spent time with Christ in prayer just as I have shared here with you. Upon opening my eyes as I sat in the soft chair in my writing room, I first saw my beloved little Rochester. He is cuddled in a thick patchwork quilt of wildlife creatures folded in quarters so that it is soft and deep lying upon the guest bed here. His small body is resting in a sweet position in the center of it and he is sound asleep with a little paw over his face. My heart melts, even though I have seen him again and again in this precious image of such innocence.
I believe Jesus is telling me through Rochester to rest in Him. Just as Rochester utterly trusts me for love and care, so must I trust Jesus. I must continue to rest and be still, and in His perfect timing He will bring about the answer and set the situation free. Rochester is God's love and presence made visible to me always. I see anew that I am not alone in my frustration and feeling of betrayal as I wait. As Rochester rests in the comforter, so do I also rest in the Comforter. Rochester is my angel sent from God. I trust this answer.
Prayer is solace as is the presence of Rochester in my life. I am once again still and at peace.
Having heard the voice of the Comforter I patiently wait in His care for this problem to be resolved. I am loved.
Blue Dolphin Publishing, 2005
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