Finally--Holy Saturday! One more day until Easter Resurrection!
A week or so ago in the daily Mass readings of His Living Word, this verse from Numbers stirred my soul.
But with their patience worn out by the journey,
the people complained against God and MOses,
"Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in this desert,
where there is no food or water?"
This Nothing consecrated Catholic hermit's existence echoes the question the Israelites asked, those many centuries ago. In my case, however, it is not so much of patience being worn out, but rather the body and mind being worn out, the emotions exhausted.
The physical pain has been consistently rugged as suggests the hymn line--familiar-- "the old, rugged cross." Lent did not begin with such level of physical pain; but the body is mostly reclining amidst a bit of limping, through these last days.
A week ago yesterday the good-bye visit to the family remnant ended up being very emotionally painful. A mystic can sense the deeper echelons of existence. The daughter belittled the feeling-statement, "I will miss you all very much," and retorted, "You make this seem like some big good-bye!"
Well, it is. Not, of course, from their standpoint, as they live in a different world. Their world is of the active life with iPhone, iPad, Kindle, FaceBook, Pinterest distractions, of financial stability and physical energy, of the bulk of life ahead with the means to live it among people, places, things.
For the three years since this hermit was brought here from, yes, a form of Egypt, life has been more physically and emotionally and even spiritually challenging than ever before.
On the few hours of farewell, there is more. It was the day that matters arose as they typically do any time we are together. The son-in-law's tension erupted in yet another yelling and bullying incident with the young grandson. The daughter, the child's mother, is in the room yet silently waits it out. She either fears confronting her husband or has learned not to confront when he is in that mode.
This time, however, I waited downstairs, listening to the child's screams and his dad's frightening shouts. When he repeated enough times how he was sick of the child's "shitty attitude", I reached my own limit. Calling up from beneath the firestorm, safe from the visual of what I've many times viewed, I said, "If you dislike so much your son's attitude, do something about your own."
I then added that I'd driven there to have a final few hours with them, but I'd had enough of the yelling and bullying and was leaving.
There is more to this final time with daughter, son-in-law, and little grandson.
There is, also, yet more to those 3-4 hours of final farewell. The child proved to be the adult, as it ended up. We wondered if anyone else would apologize; and no one did. Apology was not really necessary, but respect is always a positive.
I also realize how it is that I view others from a perspective of increasingly high levels of physical pain and wonder at others walking, sitting, driving, LIVING--with all else in life within reach of success. Yet, I do remember way, way back in the past. I do not remember what my body felt like without the sickening constant pain; but I do remember times when other aspects of life hindered me, when now they seem as if unnecessary and trite. Yet they are very real and painful and hindering to those who live with them.
My daughter said I was "judging" her husband. I suppose so. I did apologize. But I tend to do that, too--apologize when I do wrong, yet as most of us humans, keep doing wrong even if not necessarily the same wrong. The wrongs, the sins, tend to come from our weak points. For me it is always too much physical pain.
I do know that on that day a week ago, following a day of spinal headache and then trying to do some work the next day, I could not take the yelling and bullying this one last time of being with them. For that, yes, my patience was weary with that particular yelling, bullying routine. If any consolation, my calling up from downstairs did disrupt it, and that is a positive for the one time. Obviously, it stops, also, the other times, eventually; but like my own battle with my managing of physical pain, there are always next times.
Sometimes words spoken are too potent for those close in to a situation to absorb or accept without blaming the one daring (or imprudent?) to speak.
Regardless, the separation had to occur, as in all phases of life. One "life" ends, and another "life" begins. I see it now, even if so very painful in emotional ways. I, too, have to face my own reality and destiny, as much as they need to move on with their lives, elsewhere.
The outcome is one of separation that comes when someone verbalizes disapproval of another's behavior. And I, too, am forced to face my own personal reality once again: that other than very spiritual types, people out in the world have a very hard time coping with someone who has high levels of physical pain as well as someone whose life exists in a very different mode.
Even if it is one's parent. Especially if one is one's in-law. And also if one is a consecrated Catholic hermit when others are not Catholic, do not like Catholicism, do not view the spiritual in similar perspective.
But what is it that this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit has learned from what is a small blip in the existence of humanity? I am worn out by the journey.
A fudge and caramel order came the other day. It forced the body up and off the mattress where it had crumbled with physical pain and emotional sorrow. The mind wanted the body to get up and continue on in manual work mode; the body was in too much physical pain. The mind and heart always needs to be able to focus the pain rather than the pain of body focusing the mind and heart.
The body decided to try the bathtub water faucet. Ah, the manifold valve behind the tile was obviously not done correctly. So, a cold bath with water half coming out the shower head, half coming out a faucet.
I praised the Lord for water at all and went into the pattern of thoughts I used to have back in my days in "Egypt", when I had a lovely place to live even if yet a slave to physical pain and spiritual persecution. I always praised God when showering or tub bathing--for hot water, for water at all. Many people the world over have not hot water, tubs, showers, or even clean drinking water!
And then I thought about attitude. It is not that the son-in-law intentionally did the tub/shower valve incorrectly. It all has to do with attitude, though. And there are always, then, the errors made by others and ourselves. There are always temporal errors that this worn out hermit has to deal with, to repair, or to try to find someone to help with remedying, if possible.
Attitude is so critical, for a negative attitude most often results in errors made. It does not have to be a bad attitude married to outbursts of temper. It can be a quiet, inner, sullen attitude. The results are the same.
I admit that my attitude is feeling rather deadened. The pain in the feet is so sharply alive, however, that it is difficult to make my attitude such that I want to try to stand up to dress. What will force the movement is the reality that there is mowing that must be accomplished. And yesterday, when having to drive to civilization because a Lowe's bill was impossible to handle via phone and took a CS rep in the store to contact the call center, and even the store rep not able to get accuracy from the billing center somewhere out there in the world--I got a gift from Ruthie in electric dept.
God reaches in. She had a large, glass jar with a pad of pink paper inside, and a pen. She had written out in a letter that she has a similar jar at her place, and she each day writes a gratitude on a piece of the paper, dates it, and puts it in the jar. I so appreciate the gift! (And Ruthie had written that my planting a rose for her was one of the most meaningful gifts she's had.)
Although simple and not in itself necessary, for each day in the silence of solitude I consider various aspects of life and of His Real Presence for which I am grateful. But it is the type of simple reaching in from Ruthie to me that I recognize as God's way of reminding that He takes us out of Egypt and into the desert not necessarily for those persons or things that we may think we are called to and for.
The other day, out of God's blue (when actually quite gray in the desert), Fr. V called from Nigeria! He said that the Lord is going to use me in some way, through the tremendous suffering and emptying out that is occurring, as this Lent has unfolded with the final days and now hours, the most painful and emptied of most any in my life.
With just the words of Fr. V saying that the Lord is going to be doing something with me, the words give hope. The result of the removal of the only family remaining, the only known persons beyond first-names of a handful in this desert, and the gradual dropping off of those I left behind in the Egypt from which I was called--is the words give hope.
It is hopeful when all else seems hopeless, that God is going to do something with us, and that the sign and proof of that is the tremendous sense of painful hopelessness He is allowing us to experience.
Well, even this rambling blog post, disjointed as it is, reflects how worn out am I from the journey--not just from the temporal journey into civilization yesterday! I am worn out from trying to make fudge and caramels with the pain level so high that emails to the person placing the order--well, who knows how I came off?
What on earth is this hermit, this person, all about? Is it worth ordering from someone who seems instable or unable to make some simple fudge?
Well, the rare fudge and caramel orders may need to be eliminated by the Lord, from this hermit's life. The effort and added pain that comes from standing at a counter, even with frequent breaks, is perhaps not worth it other than the prayers that are offered for those who will eventually eat the confections. Yet again, I had to face the reality that being around a person with high degrees of pain, and highly inconsistent levels of pain they are, is not easy on others to fathom or cope with.
The cousin called the other day and had this amazing statement, "Well, you could socialize and do things with others if you really wanted to~!"
The elderly aunt called and wanted to know why I do not have the stairs in yet and what am I working on to finish this place?
They love me, yet they do not at all understand the depth of the very real spiritual aspects of Lent. Spiritual rules all else, and the spiritual is alive in our existences all the more if we are aware. They love me but do not at all understand the spiritual experiences nor the reality of a hermit vocation, nor of the gradual formation of that vocation not from the hermit itself, not from anything written or laid out by some other--a priest or superior or other hermit--but called, consecrated, and formed in static flow by His Real Presence.
The phone call that mattered in a spiritually hopeful sense was the one from Fr. V in Nigeria, cutting through to the spiritual reality of all this, of Lent, of the spiritual reality that the Lord is going to do something with me, through this tremendous suffering at many levels. And the card that matters most is the one from the spiritual father who is not only praying for me and will offer prayers on Easter Mass, but who also sent financial help--a gift, not a loan with yet more pressure levied. Strange how others biologically unrelated and far away can be more in tune to tangible needs than one's own family close by.
These three aspects I am coming to grasp:
1. It is indeed a huge good-bye, that which is transpiring between this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit with the last closeness plucked, from three adult children and their families. The hermit has not the energy to do other than wait in solitude upon God and His will.
2. Spiritual bond and relationship seem far more mystical than blood bond once the Lord unfolds a vocation at a time in life when even if seemingly unnecessary to us humans, the Lord calls us more fully to Himself.
3. God does truly choose our crosses for us. They are hewn to perfection for each of us.
Again, as disjointed this post in theme, in details, this hermit's body, mind, heart, and soul are completely securely held together by pain. The Holy Spirit has brought recently to my mind several unusual spiritual experiences over the years. A long-time friend emails she thinks they should be written and shared. God will need to make that yet more clear and to give the energy to do so!
But today, I must mow, and if able, use the spreader...and weed and fertilize, but first try to stand up on these feet and get dressed, and eat something--protein, yes. I do have food and water! Praise God! I have life whether or not to be for long here or on the other side! I have His Real Presence!
One more day! Easter tomorrow!
God bless His Real Presence in us! I am grateful, little children, that we can always choose to love God above all things and love others as ourselves! We can always love! Love is the attitude that can be with us no matter how worn out by the temporal journey!