It certainly takes courage to return to such difficult living conditions. However, the rhythm of prayerfully reading the Divine Office--the Psalms, the Scriptures, the hymns and canticles, the prayers--helps immensely to fill the body, mind, heart, and soul with the love necessary to continue forth.
Some errands on the return, while leaving civilization, brought unexpected joys. Ray at Lowe's assisted in the purchase of some heavy-duty, galvanized chain with which to lock the two gates on the hermitage property. This hermit considered St. Seraphim the Sarov who was beaten so badly by robbers, that he no longer could remain in his hermitage but had to return to the monastery for the remainder of his earthly life.
The daughter mentioned how fortunate her mother (this hermit!) that the man who was sheltering in the cellar crawl space did not break in and strong arm for cash or medications. But when he worked here over a year ago, his mind was at simpleton point, and he did not seem prone to violence. However, one never knows the desperation of one addicted to drugs and without lodging. In considering the hermit monks up the road who keep their gate locked, it seemed for the best.
Security of one's hermitage in this time period of history, is rather sadly an act of charity, of sorts, to prevent others from breaking laws or doing great harm to their fellow men and women. This hermit will try the chains for awhile, praying about it. Somehow it seems rather a strong measure. If the man had but asked for cellar access, this hermit would have provided better if possible. There is really no room for anyone to recline other on this bed, but perhaps he could have rested in the gable attic area that is relatively cleared.
Gary at Lowe's called an insulation company to ascertain which insulation might be less rat-attractive. How kind of him to do that added effort and call to report! Then, when stopping at Big Lots to purchase some packaged Indian curry that has high protein and is easy to microwave, a huge line formed for the register. A young woman motioned this hermit ahead of her; but since the Lord has gifted an earthly and eternal amount of time, this hermit commented it was in no hurry, and for her to go first. No, she said, her name is "Serenity", and she tries to live up to that name.
This opened up a lovely discussion of the Nine S', which she thoroughly appreciated since "serenity" is the ninth S. [Silence, Solitude, Slowness, Suffering, Selflessness, Simplicity, Stillness, Stability, Serenity.] In turn, she spoke of how she has learned to accept that she is not in control of her life in major aspects, and thus serenity has been easier to attain and live daily. The discussion was unusual coming from someone so young.
His Real Presence was doing all to help this nothing Catholic hermit be girded to drive on, away from civilization, back to the hermitage and the desert in all aspects. awaiting.
Well, the rats were awaiting, as well as a small bird that had come into the hermitage through some high-up openings so small--but birds as well as rats can manage to squish themselves through what we humans would not think possible. (Is this not appropriate as reminder of the narrow gate, and how few are they who enter and thus enter into the Kingdom of God? Or how difficult it is to reach spiritual perfection and have union with Christ, such as a camel entering through the eye of a needle--even if that allusion is of a small gate in the walls surrounding Jerusalem?)
Once more, the hermit here tried a new method of blocking a hole through which the rats gain entrance. They had moved the steel wool stuffed into it, so now have a block of wood plus the steel wool wedged tightly. The critters had nibbled nicely the rat bait poison left out, and unfortunately this is also a consideration for our time in history.
A friend had emailed what seemed not as awful as poison, but it sounded dreadful all the same. Mix dry cement with cornmeal and set water near it. Supposedly the rats eat the cornmeal-concrete concoction, drink the water, and their stomachs solidify, eventually killing them. No, it seems best from this hermit's perspective, to have them nibble something that will bring a rapid end.
As for the birds, doors and windows are left open even if cold, and they are verbally encouraged to exit. How this hermit wishes it were like the hermits of yore, of those who had close alliance with the birds, flies and other critters. Forget the name of the monk, but the old Da had told of one who had a fly as a friend. When he would be called away by his superior, from reading the Divine Office, the fly would mark the spot for the hermit monk.
Alas, the best this hermit has managed thus far in the journey, is to not "freak out" when the rats come inside, not be other than compassionate but taking prudent steps for safety when a human has been poking about and stealing, and to take it in stride that the birds are coming in through one of several possible tiny openings that eventually will be boarded shut.
We are in this together. Perhaps with more prayer and "serenity", this hermit will have rats and birds and thieves as welcome guests. But for now, the creatures who are created to live outside must not be allowed in, and those whose lives are riddled by drugs and crime, are better off in a warm, dry place where they hopefully might rehabilitate. At least this is a hermit's prayer.
It is a truth that the hermit would be far more physically comfortable in prison than in this hermitage. A prison provides warmth, food, bed, TV, free education, gym, medical care, simple jobs, time for solitude, a library, and Bible studies. However, perhaps in time and with much work, this hermitage will be more habitable. Or not. In the Order of the Present Moment, one hopes for faith, and in faith exudes love, and in love, rises to each moment in His Real Presence.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Little children, let us love one another, for God gave His only Son for our salvation! Remain in His Love!