I love the stillness of night in the mountains. The contrast between here and the city still amazes me. When the sun goes down all noise and activity stills, people retreat into their homes. It is quiet. I’m a big fan of quiet, of peace. Only the birds make noise, echoing over the hills and valleys.

Not sleeping all night tends to deflate one’s focus. It was really a day of rest, though I got some things accomplished. Finally, I can get back onto the lake. My permit expired, and I had not renewed it. I debated whether to wait, only I realized being out there is more than just a treat. There is a boon to my soul to go and paddle around for a few hours, a few times a week. I don’t know if it is the sun or the exercise, or the freedom I feel. I write better– I write–when I have that. Running isn’t the same, I don’t know why. Maybe there is a primal draw of water and current which my very blood finds invigorating. I don’t know.

Nothing remains to be said, this was not a day for very much at all. I tend to work on weekends, so I don’t fret over a day like this… as long as it does in fact help to regain focus.

I miss my friends tonight, to be honest. I regret the distance of time and thought which seems to interfere. I’m not sure where the answers to those issues lie, for I’m not sure what else I could have done. That is the question though continually before me. What am I willing to sacrifice in order to find Christ. Jesus said, “Who are my mothers and brothers?” For even family he was willing to push aside in order to attain his calling. Fortunately, thankfully, family is not a sacrifice for me, they stand by more than anyone. But the rest.. what can I do? It is a choice. And I made it.

There is a tendency to feel blame at first, to assail people for not understanding, for not ‘being there’ through thick and thin.

A hermit said, ‘When you flee from the company of other people, or when you despise the world and wordlings, take care to do so as if it were you who was being idiotic.

This is something I am learning, and did not do. It is humility, and humbling. That is the chief of the lessons. For pride sucks out the spirituality at every turn unless we learn how to see ourselves before God. If pride is dismissed, none of the vices can mount a successful invasion. Pride is such a wonderfully tasting delicacy, one which is hard to put down.

So, I learn this, and relearn this, and learn it yet some more, until it goes beyond just a mental acceptance like so much of my theology, and becomes a true part of my character. I have many faults, but that is one which will bite me the most. It is the chief sin, the one which all the others find their strength.

No one likes humility, or to be humbled. It’s such a degrading process. I feel that now, and feel the reasons for my state, and my lack of ability to move outside of this present current. I deserve more than this, more than many of the people I know. That’s the trouble, I have to get over this expectation. At the end of that road, there is a large measure of peace. I see that now, but still would rather skip it, and embrace that which feeds my carnal self. God knows this, and so has me hedged in. I’m not sure why. No use grumbling about it. That didn’t do the Israelites any good.

So, I am learning not to have expectations, to consider my tasks as the odd choice, without pressure for those I used to know to accept my decisions, or the path I’ve been led along. I want company, to be sure, but that is an issue which God alone can engineer. I have to do my part, whatever that is, and be thankful about it. I’m learning… I’m learning…

I add this an hour later, still awake. I hate the gift of discernment. It gives me moods and feelings I cannot explain, making me doubt and wander, only later finding out why. My grandmother fell this afternoon and is in the hospital now. It is not serious, apparently, just enough to be treated as such. Other things happened which I cannot see, only feel, the spiritual world so much more vast and interconnected than our own. I feel what I cannot see. That brings no end of frustrations, though also the occasional delight, I pray for more of the latter. Stories and tales which I am a part and not a part are being written, digging into mines buried. That is creating a stir, and one which I must be watchful about. There is much more to spirituality than disciplines or insightful words about modern trends. The real part is the unseen, that which we do all the rest in order to gain some strength and perseverance in dealing with. That is the real importance of the Desert Fathers and early church writings… they were more cognizant of this than we are, and spelled out that which we dare not. This may be the gift of postmodernity… a willingness to again engage that which is beyond our simple minds, and move past the locked gates which modernity built. The intellect is a small part of the Christian life, not because it is not important or without worth, but because the wider world in which we live cannot be grasped my souls and minds as small as ours, so those deeper instincts come in to their own.

I pray for peace and healing tonight, for there are victims in this war we all wage.