Hermitage Time By Jerrod Oltman

hermitageThe Hermitage is slow time. It’s a time that isn’t rushed. There are no clocks to check every five seconds, nor are there errands to run and food to cook all the time. There is just you and God and whatever emotional and spiritual baggage you decided to drag up there with you. The hermitage in all its silence is a reflection of you. It is a moment in time where you are left to yourself and to God, assuming none of that other spiritual baggage you brought up is crowding God out. This is my experience of the hermitage; a place where I could meet God more fully. Not because, like me, God likes fireplaces and the woods, something I picked up from living in rural Maine in my early years, but because there just isn’t much up there to distract me from the still, small voice that is always crying out inside of me. There isn’t anything to distract me from the grace and the call of God that permeates my life. There is some qualitative difference between the time I spend there and the time I spend back in the city. Even as I write this, I find the pressure to get it done closing down my ability to be creative. In the hermitage though, on God’s time, I listen more than I speak, and I get more from that and am better off for it. In that space where grace is easier to remember, I recall that God doesn’t always want me to be in the fast-paced life I often feel forced to live. Sometimes God wants me to focus on listening and that is why I go to the hermitage.   Jerrod spent varying amounts of time at Agape for a year while training for UCC Ministry as a military chaplain.