Saturday, October 11, 2008

Not enough solitude & silence

..... how to protect my private time? I keep thinking, "when I get out of town", when I get out into the country it will be different. But if I am to make any pretense at living as a hermit, I need to make some choices myself. I need to turn things down, even invitations to do good things with good people, family, community, even church. The new Chant Schola rehearses this morning. I want to learn more about chant ... I love to sing! ... I am the best and strongest singer in the group, and honestly, if it is to be a 4-part choir they really need me. But it rehearses every Saturday morning for an hour. No! Too much! I want to be nesting, building my nest. I want to go to the nursery and pick up some shrubs for the front border. I want to cook. I want to clean the chicken coop. I want to pack up the contents of the furniture that needs to be moved in order to furnish the rooms for paying guests, that will enable me to finally get out of town.

But this afternoon I am going to my cousin's housewarming party. This is a 3rd cousin, not a very close relative, but I very much value strong ties with the whole extended clan and it would be difficult to break that habit. And last night, there was a get-together of the "Ladies Auxiliary" (this is a purely social group) -- great community-building opportunity! Wonderful gals, it's the first time I've ever had really comfortable friendships with women, and I like it ... OK, last night there was a little too much talk about pregnancy and childbirth for this celibate to relate to, but there was enough other to be enjoyable.

Up until now I have thought of retreating into a hermitage as being a sweet indulgence for my introverted self. Going to work every day, in a very sociable office, was torment -- even having a private office I could shut the door to, not a cubicle like my poor mom has to work in. When I get out of town on occasion, away from the traffic and being constantly surrounded by people for a while, I can feel the stress fall away immediately.

But I am starting to see that if I am going to be a hermit, there will be some sacrifices. Some of the withdrawal will be painful, it won't all be sweet. I don't hate people, I just love solitude. There are times I enjoy being with folks, but as good as it can be, it pulls me away from the rhythm of the "cloister", and I feel thrown off. It's OK, all I really need is God, I know I can live with Him alone ... but it is going to be a learning process, an adjustment.

Meanwhile, I have a lot of work to do to outfit the house for renters, so I can get out of town once and for all. Good Lord, bless my hands, illuminate my mind with the next right thing to be done, and protect me from confusing your direction with the lures of the world or my own selfish will. Amen.


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