There’s an old lyric from Caedmon’s Call:

I love anonymity and I love being noticed–just the same as anybody else.

Years ago, I told you how I love to be alone; these days I’d be perjuring myself.

I’ve loved these words for years, because I think it’s true for many musicians, many artists. We grow up feeling totally out of place; we long for solitude to make sense of our art; and after years of being the wallflower who observes life all around, we yearn for the intimacy of being in the throes of life’s squall. The process may be different for each of us, and maybe it happens more than once (maybe it’s cyclical?…oh dear Lord, I hope not…) or in different patterns, but there exists somewhere in our creative mind a place that affirms the juxtaposition: I love anonymity; I love being noticed.

Recently, through an amazingly odd turn of events, I found myself with access to an empty house.

I was elated.

The thought of having this space to myself for any given amount of time was an amazing thrill. It is every artist’s dream to have an empty space to fill with the stuff of their practice and creation. And it just so happens, for this songwriter, it is more than empty space; it is wooden floors and high ceilings and wide open spaces kind of empty space (wide open spaces?…there’s a Psalm about this). It is an acoustic heaven.

One night, as the sky settled into starless night, as the neighbors all shut down and drifted to sleep, as the words of a new song meandered about me like a fog that cannot lift, I felt it: Isolation.

Solitude is a blessing, right?

Except that it isn’t. It cannot be…unless it is balanced by the commotion of fellowship. When it lacks balance, it is no longer solitude; it is isolation.

Yes, another fence-post from Sarah. You must accept the two things which seem contradictory, or you forfeit them both. Perhaps you come to a different conclusion, but for me, the only answer is to accept the contradiction. Tozer writes about God’s justice and mercy in this regard. If we were able to remove God’s justice, there would be no need for His mercy. And if we removed His mercy, justice would simply be cruelty. They are balanced inclusively with one another like dueling sides of a mountain.

The moral here is not so much a moral as it is a plea.

From one artist to many others.


…don’t let me isolate myself.

I am sorely tempted as of late. I am hurting and confused and frustrated by many events of the past year. I am heartbroken and grief-stricken and overwhelmed by sorrow. I know it is a season; I know it will pass; I know that nothing stays the same forever (except the Changeless One). But if you think of me, please reach out to me. Even if I don’t respond (which I am prone to do), I promise–I notice. And I appreciate. I save those texts, those voicemails, those emails, those cards. I hold them dear like treasures a child finds at the beach on a beautiful summer day.

They are balm to an weary and wounded soul.

Pax Christi.


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5 Responses to Isolation

  1. Steve Ward says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I’ve been reaching out to you, but you have been unavailable for a long time. It’s good to know that you are alive and well (to some degree, anyway). I understand solitude and isolation. It’s far different when you experience it in the midst of others though.

    I’m still praying for you.



    • semmie says:


      I love that you remember me in your thoughts and prayers. It is very, very noticed…and very, very appreciated.

      Thank you, my friend.

      Love and prayers headed back your way.

  2. Luke says:


    Just dropping a note to say hey, and saw that Pudge is up for the HoF next year, and seems like a likely candidate to make it. You posted a prayer on your Tweb blog lo these many years ago, which is my waking prayer in the morning.

    “God, I give you this day. The events and situations which are about to unfold, I give to you. I give myself to you. What You desire to accomplish in me and through me, I want to desire also. Open me to receive whatever you have for me.”

    Pax Christi.


    • semmie says:

      Wow. Aaaaaand then there was obp. How the heck are ya?

      • Luke says:

        Not paying attention, apparently. I thought I was following comments here.
        God’s been good, though the job situation’s stressful (not especially looking forward to merging with another law firm, but our firm’s on the ropes). Lost Schroedinger in June (congestive heart failure), so I’m down to Snicker-snack now. Looks like it’ll stay that way; she’s, um, territorial.

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