A warm day with a cold breeze. Tonight it is cool with no breeze, a gentle night, quiet and full of peace.
I wonder what I am doing. This is a monastic style existence without the monastery, or commitment. Do I fast because of devotion, or for a lack of food. Do I wander because of my own lack, or is the hand of God really leading me. Where has my ambition gone? Is it turned a different direction, or turned off.
I felt a sudden drop of my soul during this last hour or so. I don’t know why, I don’t know what is going on. A great weight has descended. I don’t know the right response, other than prayer. Last year around this time I earnestly pursued going in a responsible direction. I took a leap out, and committed to it, praying that the only way I would not go farther would be if God physically prevented me. He did. That’s a different story, to be sure, though in many cases it was the beginning, or should I say the end. Before that marked a different part of me, one eager for progress, for acclimation, for purpose before the masses. My heart died in a way that day, and I’m not sure if I ever recovered. Essentially, that was the day I stopped caring. To live is Christ. I learned that more.Only it was not a matter of positive choice, but the last vestige of my own efforts in searching to go past God’s heavy hand.Now, I only wait on him. Tonight those feelings, that misery, that infernal emptiness returns. I look around, and feel the blank surroundings, that solitary life which I never really sought. With these thoughts I am aware of my connection with those who have gone before. I read of similar souls, much farther advanced than I am, in the stories of the desert fathers.I yearn to teach, to lead, to be productive.Yet I read:
A hermit said, ‘I would learn rather than teach.’ He also said, ‘Do not teach too early, or you will have less understanding during the rest of your life.
Why am I in a hurry? What race am I trying to finish. There is no reward for being first, only in lasting to the end. Jesus was around thirty when his ministry started, before that he got angry when anyone suggested he act his part. “It’s not my time,” he said. I’m a year away from starting where the Son of God incarnate began. I’m not ready either, only all the world tells me now or never.
Antony said, ‘He who sits alone and is quiet has escaped from three wars: hearing, speaking, seeing: but there is one thing against which he must continually fight: that is, his own heart.
This is true, we cover so much of our own hearts in the white noise of other pursuits, even, especially, Godly pursuits, so attuned are we to saving or teaching others, we lose ourselves, or never find ourselves.
Poemen said, “He who knows himself is a man.”
Who really knows themselves in our era? I have stopped in many ways, stuck in the wilderness, hoping this is not still the first darkness. The weight is heavy, and there are no voices around which speak of similar paths. Yes, there are many who seek God. Not in the silence, though, not in the quiet, not in the emptiness. Even in those most searching, the same ambition, though turned holy, presents itself. Where is the rest in this world? I feel the heavy weight, the exhaustion of swimming in a current which pulls me along, so that I can neither come nor go, only tread, seeking to keep my head afloat. And I know, I know at the core of my being that there is no way other than through all of this. The temptations present themselves, the green grass over yonder, that which others say I should do in order to justify myself to them, to prove that I am worthy in their eyes, or even worthy to fulfill my obligations once made. I could pursue, but I know in my depths that this would just hide the stronger call, delay the inevitable, cause further chaos. So, I duck my head, trying to find some refreshment, some rebirth in the water. Only tonight I feel nothing but the deafening silence, and the pain in knowing it is right. I seek solace in company, in potential pursued, in money made for the continued work I do. These are not where my solace is to be found. My soul is not wide enough, strong enough to yet embrace that true source of solitude. We are called to see that which Moses could not, to take in the fullness of God through the God in us. The Spirit whispers, persistent. In the silence, in the quiet, we hear the voice, and can no longer turn away. I either will find death or life in my present pursuit. There is no retreat.The thought weighs me down right now, even as writing these words buoys me up.
I trust that my prayers are answered, that my life is a narrow path hedged by the very hands of God. I can do nothing else. Only time will say if these words are truth or deceptions. I can only do that which my heart inspires, for if I seek to walk with the Spirit, I cannot be the one trying to tell the Spirit where to go. That is my prayer, my hope, that the Spirit would lead, for I am willing to follow. I just feel the weight tonight, and it burdens my soul.