Yes, this is the regard that the Horatio Spaffords were afforded by their church, after repeated trials beset them. Thus, this is what the hermit was trying to express to its cousin who questions how God could allow the repeated "hard knocks" this hermit experiences in life. "It is not normal," she and others say.
However, in the spectrum of life and in the world of some Christians--and we may not know or grasp why God has some in for more than others--the trials this hermit experiences are less than what others bear in much heavier crosses. That is why relating the life story of Horatio and Anna Spafford and their tragedies of the 1870's in Chicago, made at least a bridge of thought to the cousin's queries.
She herself has not been inured from trials and hardships, even if not in living circumstances and finances. She and her husband have faced serious health issues and the loss of his far better paying job. And, this hermit mentioned the children with terminal illnesses, or people with blindness, deafness, paralysis. And, as to any of us, we never know the day nor the hour for any cross that may seem too heavy to lift, let alone to carry.
But it was the Spafford's church saying their tragedies were divine punishment, that spurred them and some friends to form a group dubbed by journalists as "The Overcomers." When thirteen adults and three of their children moved to Jerusalem in 1881 to help any Jews, Muslims, or Christians in need, their group became known as the American Colony.
How this relates with this hermit (and perhaps with some of you readers) is that the hermit has been pondering, while being taken down, down, down, that these current trials and some of the past, in addition to being the Lord's means of yet more necessary humbling of His eremitic servant, He also is allowing for the hermit to be making reparation, retribution, for its many sins and failings in life.
A list could easily be written of some of them, from broad categories to specific wrong-doings. But it is not necessary here. The thoughts have floated through the hermit's mind from its soul, for a few days in this period of physical inertia. Much is going on within. (Perhaps when so much is going on within, the body actually needs a period of inertia for otherwise the inner would be too much for a body and a mind, a heart and a soul to continue functioning?)
Yes, being taken down allows for penitence, for mourning over past and present failings and sins, for lost faith in bits and pieces, like the crumbles that drop when cutting foam insulation board.
To mourn and weep, to be temporarily immobilized in order to be shown, deeply within, the sins and also to be awakened to the sins of mankind in general, improves the soil for cultivating a spirit of penance and a desire to make retribution for the wrongs of the sinful self and the sins of all mankind.
Whether or not there will be an outreach or good "work" in the context of how the Spafford's created a religious community that did much good, remains yet for His Real Presence to tell this hermit. The hermit is not anticipating anything of the sort, for it is a hermit; the function of a hermit is stricter separation from the world and praise of God and assiduous prayer and penance.
Some hermits in history, were called from more extreme solitude and into more active works of mercy, or at least into more contact with people who desired their consult and prayers. But this hermit does not anticipate anything but being in the reparation and retribution business, which is good works, even if painfully good ones. We never know, though, from one day to the next, other than God is with us, and we are with Him if we desire and choose to be.
God bless His Real Presence in us! Let us love one another, little children all! Remain in His Love!