Monday, July 7, 2014

Solitude Versus the Mall

Yesterday I left my brief visit in "civilization" to return to Te Deum House--this barely habitable abode.  I can't say I wanted to return to hardship, but the needs here and work load are not going to disappear on its own.  Somehow, all this is what God has chosen for me; I must seek Him in the physical and emotional challenges of such renunciation.

On the return, I had to find an Apple Store.  My iPad was not charging, and this posed a critical threat to continuing with working on the wall I had to remove and rebuild.  I already have replaced the plumbing.  But an electrician had fed the wires to the outlet boxes, and had installed the outlet boxes.  I took measurements of each outlet box location, and I took photos with the iPad to show the wires (yellow and white coated wires) leading through the studs to the various 10 outlets. 

Without the photos, I had a huge, temporal problem.   Finishing the wall could not progress.  Nothing more could be accomplished toward the end goal of drywall, taping, mudding, priming, painting, floor leveling, floor and cabinet installation, insulation in rafters, wood ceilings cut and nailed, and final light and plumbing fixtures.
Finding the mall was for me a challenge in courage.  I called upon Joan of Arc with whom I've had an encounter, in person, a few years ago.  That is another sharing.  But she gave me something back then, and placed it on the left side above my heart.  It was a solid gold bar of 5 chevrons.  It was made known to me that the chevrons are given for courage--to have courage and to take the gift of courage.

Today, remembering that spiritual experience, I knew also to call upon my guardian angel.  Calm arrived along with courage, and some common sense.  I followed a few signs and from there on followed the bulk of cars in whatever lanes or turns they made.  His Real Presence reminded that most people would be seeking the mall.  That was a correct thought, and I arrived prior to its opening so found a parking space near an entrance.

I have not been in a mall for a few years.  I avoid them due to traffic, congestion, so many souls moving about in the vast, commercial space--and the disorientation and weariness that results.  But there are always encounters--and I am praying for the clerks who assisted me.  I have their names, and I have their essences. I also pray for a few shoppers I was drawn to observe.

But when in the immense Apple Store, so many customers of all ages, so many clerks, so much noise--my head began to swim and ears felt plugged.  When the clerk was speaking, I could focus on her.  (It first looked grim for the iPad, but thankfully it is charging enough thus far to have drawn a sketch of the wiring from the photos.)

When the clerk helped others while I waited for the iPad to charge so she could double check it, I  wanted to be away from the consumer chaos.  So I observed some people, but with so many milling about in a large space, I found refuge by going within my soul to pray in the inner solitude and silence.  It was the only recourse, as increasingly my senses were overloaded with the whole mall experience, despite lovely people all about needing help and receiving help from lovely clerks.

There is nothing unusual or particularly interesting about this scenario, other than it depicts how the body, mind, heart and spirit can become content with solitude, silence, slowness, stillness, simplicity, stability and serenity.  I'd have to call this past year an "immersion program" of eremitic [hermit, religious solitary] life, of a type of desert exile from a bulk of the clamoring world, and an opportunity for interior growth.

The world!  The world!  I am lost from it, lost to it, lost in it's chaotic and treacherous potentials. God bless the world and all peoples in it.  God bless the clerks and the customers.  God bless the people (mostly in China) who make the products being sold.  God bless the materials He created that are used in production of tangible items.

Yet how thankful I was to be finally passing through the mall door by which I entered, and returning to Precious Blood (my used, dark red, pick-up truck).

At one point within the mall, trying to get out and away from the hustling clerks and bustling crowds and all the stuff, stuff, stuff--I exclaimed to the Lord, "I hate this world!" 

But immediately the ugliness of the word "hate" moved me to apologize to Him. 
Yes, I remarked within to His Real Presence, that those who come to the mall are no doubt more used to stores and crowds and the commercial aspects of life.  

Mall employees are necessarily earning their livings.  The goods sold in malls can be helpful goods, and consumers either need or want them.  The need can vary, for there is little we actually need from Malls.  But I certainly needed (or found helpful) the iPad to charge so that I could see the photos of the former, electrically wired wall .

I wonder if the difficulty with being comfortable in a mall is the effect of being more of a contemplative person?  Malls seem to be temporal worlds within the temporal world.  They seem antithetic to God's created nature other than what natural materials are used in construction and products.  I usually have to become singly focused on an item, person, and purpose for being there.  There are so many stores, so many items, and so many people that it seems a false environment with no windows to the earth and air outside.  Some people seem to be there as a form of entertainment, to pass away [God's!] time.

But I have often passed away God's gift of time in other forms of distraction.  Perhaps it is done in less hectic and crowded conditions, but I have passed His time in watching British dramas or years ago in reading mystery novels.  And often enough I have passed His time in non-heroic suffering or in daydreaming negative thoughts.  What difference is that from those who pass His time meandering the malls?

All this has analogy for our souls and the spiritual life.  I'll stop writing now and ponder them.  But I'll not be back at any mall, any time soon, I hope and pray.  His Real Presence--Father, Son and Holy Spirit need to be my "mall".  God provides all the goods and services my soul needs.  Even though in  earthly malls sometimes we do need the tangible items, in malls we can yet recollect our souls amidst the hustle bustle, and go within His Mall, of sorts.   From within His Mall we can bring out His love and insights to share Him even if by kindly word, glance, or silent prayer.  [I forgot until now:  I always wear the large, gift-Crucifix when I am out in the "world"; that is a love-advertisement, if ever there can be.]

There is nothing quite as sweet as being within His Love in the interior while at the same time being within His Love in outer times and places.

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