The past week, this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit has been working on the hermitage bathroom and praying. The thought has come of just how skilled and focused and hard-working are those who build. I've thought much of St. Joseph and Jesus--all those in history of nations and civilization who figured out how to construct not just edifices but thoughts, words, art, music, and the spiritual life.
Yes, we build our spiritual lives. We construct in certain order, in ways that sometimes we do not understand and by trial and error. But we learn from the Holy Spirit as to how to listen, to pray, to proceed in our journeys in this life, this world, and on into eternity.
Today I had to figure out how to wire electrical light fixtures. My son-in-law had started one of two in the bathroom, but the box that is nailed into the stud behind the drywall wobbled a little. He became discouraged and evidently was not familiar with that type of box that is nailed to one side or the other of an upright wall stud. Yes, one side could be pressed in slightly.
However, once the back plate is screwed in and the wires attached properly, and the fixture screwed into the back plate, the wall itself acts as a solid stabilizer. He somehow could not grasp that on the day he tried. I think he has mostly done ceiling fixtures with mounting boxes that are secured differently to ceiling joists and do not have any "give" on one side or the other.
So I thought about how my son-in-law has learned to wire light fixtures and realized that there is no reason why I should not be able to do it. It takes courage, though, and courage comes with prayer and confidence in the Lord. With faith, I started in, reading instructions and beginning the process of hanging the second light fixture.
Of course, there were glitches. There seem always to be in this old hermitage. The electrical box was not flush with the drywall. I called Mark, the electrician. He said to use spacers to bring the face plate out so it would be more flush with the drywall. It was not at all easy to get the spacers behind the screws and all secured in the proper place, with the mounting screws for the fixture, then, being aligned so that the light would hang straight on the wall.
I had to call Mark yet again with another question, and while asking the question, the answer came clear. He laughed; I laughed. A lot of these matters simply take doing and checking in with someone other who has more than ample experience.
And so, too, with our souls and the spiritual life. Yet we must pray for courage and have faith that we can step forward in our seeking His Real Presence and that we will find Him always, with us and us with and in Him. Sometimes we call upon a spiritual friend or spiritual director; or we read a book written by a spiritual master, tried and proven over time to be one who has reached divine union or nearly so while on yet on this earth.
Always, we can call upon Jesus and His apostles. We can call upon the Blessed Mother, Mary. We can call upon the Holy Spirit and God the Father of all beingness. We can turn to the directions we are given in the Scriptures. No matter the challenge or new skill or task or step we are encountering in our spiritual lives and growth, we do have the directions given us in the Living Word, the Bible.
The past few weeks, the Lord has been communicating more, reminding me of specific persons needing prayer. It has become uncanny--truly miraculous. But why should that surprise us? He desires to utilize us, and when enough of the distractions are tucked away and out of mind, our minds and hearts and souls are more open to listening in the silence of solitude.
If we do not see or hear the inner images or inner words and detect what He wishes of us, be assured His Real Presence will repeat His will in similar or other formats. That has been the case, lately, and He makes sure if I miss the cues, that I get them even if the person needing prayer ends up contacting through temporal means. But mostly, lately, He has let me know in ways that I grasp, and when a temporal contact comes along, the message had already been received.
Perhaps I may share some of these aspects with you sometime, my dear friends, dear blog readers. I'm sure you will have many such similar, but it might also help as a reminder to expect His promptings and messages. When they come, we must snatch them and act upon them with increasing faith and confidence in prayer and word and deed.
Tomorrow the daughter and son-in-law are going to come quite early to this hermitage. They've not been here for some time; it is a trek out of civilization to arrive here. We are going to set the toilet in the bathroom! The slate floor is in place, grouted and sealed. The tub that was set last summer now has all the tiling, grout, and sealant completed. The window trim is cut, sanded, primed, painted, nailed and caulked. (Yes, I did all the boards for the window wrap and casings in opposite order. Craig explained that is why I had difficulties with gaps. Now I know better for all the other windows.)
In our temporal lives and in our spiritual lives, we may do well to keep in mind that we are always learning. We make mistakes. We might pray and listen but miss the cues. So we pray and listen some more, and we ask others in our lives who have experiences we have not yet encountered. That is how it is in life.
It has come to me in the silence of solitude and in the failures and successes, that some people learn a skill that they use repeatedly and become rather expert. Others learn bits and pieces of skills in more generalized form and use. Some are specialists, others are generalists. We all are journeying together, even if some more in physical solitude and others more in active interactions or groupings.
Such as with this old hermitage, we learn in various modalities. Yet we find we are learning various aspects of experiences and lessons and skills enough--to be humbled enough--to praise God for the miracle of it all!
God bless His Real Presence in us!