This is the first day of total solitude in a way that shocks the familial tethers to shards.
The last of the adult children and family moved far away today. There was but one sob session, brief, this morning. Then I realized that I'd been awakened at 3 a.m., by my constant companion, Pain. So took medication then but never fell back asleep. In late morning thought of the family: gone, all gone. Then the sob session--and then realized had forgotten to take pain medication.
No wonder! Pain, the companion, makes me easily weep if it goes untended. However, the finality of the last of the adult children and family gone far away, had its effect, painfully, as well. But as the day progressed, with the body going outside to work on the weed overgrowth, the continuance of God reaching in led to downright excitement.
What will this transition become? What surprises lurk in each present moment? How will God use me in a totally altered role. No longer is it parent of adult children and grandparent of adult children PLUS consecrated Catholic hermit. No more stuffing the Catholic hermit into a grocery bag when called upon to travel into civilization to help out the adult child and family in some manner or form.
Now it is all consecrated Catholic hermit time in every present moment.
Well, one of the first things to happen was after I thought about a young man who had been in contact a few months ago. He had emailed asking for some assistance interpreting his dreams. Surprise! Taking a break from weeding, there was an email from him with two fascinating dreams to pray, ponder, and await insights from the Holy Spirit that may be of much help to the young man.
Ah, the first dream, I see--he has pretty well figured it out on his own; but there are some suggestions I will share with him as to how he can ask the Lord some questions as to any further changes in his life regarding what the dream reveals. I yet have the second dream to read and pray over.
Then, when returned to weeding (am clearing the vegetable area and fruit orchard section) I suddenly thought about a young woman--of age between my two adult daughters. This young woman and I had been friends over a decade ago but had lost contact. The reason I was thinking of her was that I wanted to salve my wounded heart some with memories of those who appreciated my spiritual essence, my personality, my self--since I had to face the raw reality that my adult children don't. The ego, the pride, yet lives, unfortunately!
(And I am not being moribund here, on this point, but rather blunt and openly honest. They don't like the spiritual essence of my life, nor Catholicism, nor my idiosyncrasies, nor my flaws, nor my pain issues, nor my sense of humor, nor my love of gardening, nor my current broke financial situation. They don't like their memories, or so it surely seems from comments made in the past--and I mean past because the communication is past.)
Back to the young woman with whom I had a marvelous spiritual friendship. When I took another rest break for the pained body, there was a message from her. She wanted to get in touch with me, she wanted my email since I am more hidden than before, internet-wise.
Then today came a phone call from a cousin who needed advice on how to handle a tricky situation with her adult son. Should she email him her feelings on the action he was about to take--let him know her stance? NO! I shared my woeful past experiences when I had spoken up to adult children, and they were not nearly as old as her son. But they resented it so much, and I realized they knew how I live and think on moral issues, anyway. Don't do it! Let his life unfold, and we will pray!
Amazingly, also, came an email that I actually had not expected as a reply. With the realization that no matter the circumstances, the Lord had pruned away the last of the three adult children and their families--painful though it was--He was asking something more of me. What did I have in life? Parenting, grand-parenting? No. The path had been cleared of all distractions of the hermit life. And oh, how I'd love to be able to go to Mass!
So I'd emailed the Vicar of Clergy in the diocese and asked if there was going to be a change of priests in the local parish. I mentioned only that change can be excellent growth experience for a priest as well as for parishioners.
The Vicar responded that yes, there will be one assigned, and the announcements will be in May. In the meantime, he asked my prayers for the health and welfare of the diocese priests for there is a shortage--what most if not all dioceses in this country face.
I returned to the gardens and weeded an area so that I could shovel and mound more rows upon which to plant the bare root strawberry plants that came in the mail yesterday. The work is slower than I always anticipate, but I got 30 plants in the ground and have 90 to go (I think). I've never planted bare root strawberry plants, but they were far less costly than the ones in flats at nurseries.
I'm planting with blind faith--not only that they will grow and produce this summer, but that they will produce enough to add to the fruit from previous year plantings. I pray for some income from donations people might leave when I set out produce on a table by the road.
But I found myself mostly thinking about the hope of a change in parish priests, and I prayed while weeding and digging and planting, that the Lord will bring a priest to the parish who is chosen by God's Divine Will. I'm asking the intercessions, also, of the parish patron saint. If the current priest is reassigned to remain, I will know that the Lord will be with me as He has been all year: His Real Presence in me spiritually, mystically, and yet also substantively.
Somehow, too, the Lord has buoyed my spirits after the tensions and loss of the adult child and family. They are probably at their new location by now; I was not given an address. Perhaps I will be given it after some time passes. I suspect this one will keep in contact off and on but nothing of the deeper closeness we had in the past--and I mean more the distant pass.
Increasingly, over the years, adult children can become their own persons. Their interests and personalities can change some, too, being influenced by their spouses, their church or no church, their careers, their own transitions and phases in life. There has never been any doubt that God blessed their moving.
And there now must not be any doubt that He is tightening a grip on His handling of His nothing consecrated Catholic hermit. And this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit is finding itself a wee bit interested in how just today, this first day without any family or close contact anywhere near at all, the Lord has brought those whom He wills, when He wills, for what purposes He wills.
The Lord utilized me today, and it was from and for people who wanted to have contact, who wanted what I could provide better than most anything else, and that is prayer, advice, and assistance with the spiritual. Somehow, I do not feel as sad about familial loss. I understand more how my adult children chose and also needed to curtail the relationship; and while it seemed extreme to me and unnecessary to the extent of the curtailment, I realize God knows what He is doing, after all!
First day of no tethers to anything other than the hermit vocation and solus Deus! God bless His Real Presence in us! Let us love God above all things and one another as ourselves.