Sunday, July 31, 2016

Catholic Hermit, an Uncommon Hermit

Well, perhaps.  What is a common hermit, anyway?  Ought not all hermits fit into the category of being "uncommon"?

Regardless, this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit is not the dour type.  I've lost a lot of forced piety over time, as in not as rigorous and more going with God's flow.  That can include music--and not just the classical music of Bach's Masses and Mozart's.  They are packed away, although I could find them on YouTube, perhaps?

I was never one to keep up with the latest in-groups when younger.  But in the past couple or so years I came across "The Beach Boys."  I started reading about them on Wikpedia, and I watched some online documentaries of their lives.  

Always fascinated with people and lives, perhaps it is in my later years and my interest in souls, that I have found the lives of others to be of great interest.  And music is peaceful, healing, soothing with its harmonies when I am in a pain siege.

Today is one such day. This is actually the third day of it, but I have toughed it out by pushing the body at least to hook up soaker hoses and pick strawberries to put out on the roadside table.  Yesterday I awoke thinking I'd passed through the siege, gotten off "easy" with but one day of spinal headache and difficulty handling situations.  

But by Mass last evening, the spinal headache had erupted; the newer muscle pain, sharp, revved with driving to the church.  Even though the ecstasy provided the gift of no pain, and I had great refreshment into the evening, this morning I awoke socked in with awful pain.  Darkness battles light.

Anyway, I took an extra med hoping to avoid the big-gun meds that would sedate me for the day and night.  Hate to have to do that, for at least this way I have moved about, such as the soaker hoses every hour or two, and picked two more quarts of berries awhile ago.  So I have tried to distract the darkness that threatens my thoughts by listening to music.

Beach Boys!  I came across a video of a concert they had 33 years ago.  The city was about 40 miles from where I lived at the time.  Life was quite different then, for me, for them.  A year later I would have the life-altering car accident--hit by teen drunk driver.  Well, anyone who has followed my blogs knows the bulk of all that ensued. 

As to the Beach Boys, that very year, a few months later, the middle brother, Dennis, would die from drowning.  He'd had too much to drink, dove, hit his head, remained under too long.  Brian, the eldest and musical genius, composer, song-writer brother, had rejoined the group publicly after more than a decade of emotional and weight problems.  Fifteen years later, the youngest brother, Carl--the one with "the voice of an angel" (truly!) would die at age 51 or so from cancer.  He had been a cigarette smoker.

I consider all their lives--their upbringing, their rise to stardom, their enduring even to this year, going on a tour, I think, their last, perhaps.  The harmonies are stellar yet.  The words mostly not the message; the music, the compositions, the sound is what resonates, uplifts, takes the mind easily from such as severe bodily pain, headache, foot pain, spinal pain, leg pain.  Nerves are on fire, burning.  

The music and thoughts of these men's lives--abusive dad, some drug experimentation, drinking, emotional and mental problems Brian had to endure, pass through.  Yes, they persevered in what was a life that had its loopholes in which they got entangled when younger.

On my part, I have endured thus far, but my suffering continues.  There is no way to overcome it physically.  I do feel as if I am wearing down, the muscles de-conditioned from a winter of too much pain and a spring of additional areas of pain, and some injuries included, like slipping thrice on the pole barn roof, or the blood poisoning from the splinter in the left thumb.  Or the on-going flare ups of the right thumb when the drill whipped back on it last December.

I did not cause the car accident years ago. I did not drink and drive, nor did I smoke.  I did not experiment with drugs, nor did I have an abusive father.  I did not run around on my spouse, was faithful, hard-working, serious about God, yes, but fun-loving.  So I have been blessed even though I did get myself into tough situations.  Mostly, the tough ones found me, though.

So it goes, that not always can we say that our lives are as they are, due to something we did or should not have done.  There are other forces involved.  Some call it our destinies; I call it God's plan, His Will, the mission marked out for us.  And, such as with the Beach Boys and others like Glen Campbell, despite some choosing to live in certain health- and morally risky ways, we can endure; we can overcome ourselves.

These musicians are proof of it, as even Dennis, the rebellious Beach Boy who went through a rough drinking period, had started to turn it around some, had come back to the security of the group, was starting to play the drums again, such as he was drumming at the concert in early summer 1983.

Should a hermit be watching and listening to the likes of pop-rock music, involving mind with lives of music stars?  (Yes, I have researched the life of Glen Campbell, too, and have listened to various songs--what a savant guitarist from early age, a poor background, and major issues with drugs and alcohol with a Jesus-conversion experience in post-midlife!)

I have wondered that today, myself. Should I be spending time here on the mattress, listening to the Beach Boys, picking up a few more details of their life histories, reminiscing with amazement that I was close by that very day of that concert--and had not an interest in it then at all.  No, it is the length and breadth and depth of life experiences that intrigue me.

I like to see from near the end of lives, back through, sifting the ashes, so to speak, to glean the bits of gold filling or whatever, that show the brilliance of a life lived that was filled with suffering of one type or another, regardless if we brought it on ourselves or God orchestrated matters to bring us to His Will for us, or a bit of both.

I like to watch the ones yet alive--Al Jardine, Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and now Al Jardine's son Matt who helps with vocals. I like to watch and listen to their old bodies and old voices, the latter amazingly strong yet.  I appreciated deeply the performances of Glen Campbell in later years, especially the documentary of his good-bye tour, suffering Alzheimer's.

I like to see how these people persevered and endured, how they overcame the darkness in their lives, or at least tried and were on their way upward.  What is this hermit's song to be?  A dirge, or one of uplift?  Perhaps it will be more on the lines of "God Only Knows," or "Love and Mercy."  Something simple, yet I had better hang on here today, in order to sing it to God.

Sometimes it is very difficult to endure through such pain.  Perhaps I should take a big-gun med, as this might drag on longer than if I'd just knock myself out for awhile, be sedated.  I don't know.  I hate the medication effects, and I want to try to do without.  Might not be wise nor caring of the body that with prolonged high-level pain is stressed, and then the emotions are stressed.

Darkness is all part of it.  The doubts, the feelings of hopelessness, particularly of if I will be able to do the manual labor necessary here.  Need to do some mowing, finish painting the exterior, the whole interior is studs mostly, with some drywall in some areas, not taped nor mudded yet.  I have a load of laundry to do and hang on the line.  Ought to brush the teeth--the bathtub the only source of water now until the end of September.

Don't ask me--ask Lowe's!  My aunt yesterday questioned me, as if I was somehow not ordering cabinets properly.  "Now, just how is that Lowe's keeps getting the cabinets wrong???"  I responded simply:  "The employees are incompetent."  My aunt responded simply, also, "Oh."  My cousin called today.  I knew she'd talked with her mother.  She questioned me as to why I still do not have a sink.  

It becomes too much to go over the negativity that does not matter, anyway.  Nothing to be done about it but wait and hope and pray that the situation gets worked out, sometime.  Right?  I've ceased being upset about it, but with high-level pain, that is not easy!  

Anyway, to some I might seem an uncommon hermit, listening to Beach Boys music and Glen Campbell songs at this phase of my life and nearly 16 years since profession of hermit vows.  Why not read more into St. Teresa's Way of Perfection  for the third time (does wonders with each read) or try to continue with St. Hildegard's Scivias (Visions)?

Maybe it has to do with just needing music today, harmony, and a sense of the passage of time and lives lived, and some joyful upbeat to remind me to keep fighting the darkness that this type of pain can levy upon a person.  Perhaps it is to remain with a finger on the pulse of the world out there, too, and with people whose lives might have seemed as if nothing ever should go wrong with all that physical health, money, and talent.  

But things do happen, and how joyful to see others try to overcome and that they succeed into their later years or else turn within the time given of shorter lifespans.  I might try Teresa yet this evening; she is not as mind-testing as Hildegard's visions.  For those, not only does one use the verbal spheres of the brain but also the image-related spheres--and yes, I know that "spheres" is not the proper term. I simply cannot think past the headache enough to grasp the physiological term--quadrant is not correct, either.  Hemisphere?  That is closer--lobe?  Maybe.

Well, uncommon or common, it does not matter to me whichever the term for a hermit who listens to and watches some impious YouTube videos on a Sunday afternoon when struggling with darkness, struggling with way too much pain of body and head--which I often categorize as separate from the body, depending on how severe the spinal headache.  Today's has it separated out, for it is too much for me to consider all that pain connected.

God bless His Real Presence in us!  Little children, let us love one another as Jesus loves us, whether we are common or uncommon to our views and perspectives.

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