By the grace of God and a contact my adult daughter had in their previous church, I've had a hermit helper about one day a week. This past week Daniel could come two days. Next week he thinks he can come two days, so Friday I had to push this pained body a bit more and get to the lumber yard in civilization to load up on tongue and groove pine boards for continuing putting in ceilings.
Craig at the lumberyard talked it over, how to pattern the lengths of 8', 10' and 12' lengths, staggered, in the downstairs room that is about twice as long as wide. We also discussed construction of stairwell bannister and spindles and framing in beneath the eventual stairs. (I like to get ideas and instruction in advance, and let the thoughts and images hang out in my mind so that the Holy Spirit and my angel can work it through in a way that I will be able to construct when that phase comes. It will be a good while.)
So Stan in the yard, checked and loaded a whole lot of 4-board bundles of tongue and groove. Precious Blood (my dark red used pick-up) was back-end weighted, for sure. Took about an hour to sort through the wood to try to avoid chipped edges, warps, and bowed pieces of lumber.
Got back to Te Deum Hermitage and had to rest the back a bit on the mattress. Then, instinctively I knew to push the body to start unloading all that lumber into the old house--after clearing what space I could find to stack it. I made the unloading process a prayer for persons with specific needs. When I wanted to stop the process, I'd tell myself to not ruin the prayer and would consider the families and victims of the airport mass shooting.
This morning, perhaps the weather shift or the heavy, repeated lifting and carrying of all that lumber, my back was done in. I kept thinking of trying to get up and dress and get to work sanding and priming those 130 or more boards, but the body rarely left the mattress. Eight 10-footers are sanded and primed; that's it for today.
In authenticity and honesty, this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit cannot report that I spent the day in solemn prayer. I did not. I thought about people, of course, and would now and then formally offer a prayer for whoever came to mind.
And I praised God for a cousin's daughter who happened to send a gift card that I used toward the huge lumber bill on my credit card. I praised God for my adult children who had chipped in before Thanksgiving to help pay Daniel for the three days he came then to help, even if we did not get that much done then as plumbing and framing a pocket door took longer, plus we were getting used to working together. I did not have my projects as organized as am trying to do now.
Thus, the need to get the wood sanded and primed, at least enough to finish the upstairs slanted ceilings when the helper comes Monday, or so he thinks he will that day. I praised God today for Daniel's help, as without a helper at this time--like I told him when he was last here--I'd still be on this mattress in the cold downstairs, unable to make progress. Was at a point of needing another person on the other end of boards or to hold up top plates to nail into the ceiling for framing, or help getting drywall up the ladder. Yes, the stairwell is all drywalled now! Victory!
But other than praying for persons and praising God for persons, and pondering how love is essential for Christ's peace to control our hearts, I distracted myself from physical pain today by watching some humorous clips from life on YouTube. Now, is that the serious work of a prayerful, penitential, and praising hermit?
No. Yet it was quite effective in pain management, as humor, even in silence, enters the brain and helps build endorphins (body's natural pain killers). Somehow this evening, though, I am sick of the humorous personalities I watched, even if quite clever writers of scripts and talented actors are appreciated for creativity and artistry.
So perhaps yes, in a sense of appreciating the gift of humor and creativity, linking all to God's love for us and creating laughter and intellectual intrigue off-set by some mindlessness, perhaps it can be a form of prayerful praise of life, of the world, of our human foibles of which we can laugh at ourselves. We are foibled folks.
About the time I got the body up and off the mattress to remove four boards from saw horses and lean them against a wall that is open to the landing above (will pull the boards up from the landing, hopefully tomorrow, and lay them flat in the rooms where needed to finish slanted ceilings), I thought of the Angel of Portugal appearing to the three children of Fatima fame. They were playing a game one day, and the angel appeared and spoke sternly, asking, "What are you doing? Pray! Pray! Pray!"
So with that little remembrance of a true occurrence in the year 1917 or 1918, known as the miracles of Fatima in which the Virgin Mary and the angel appeared monthly over a period of six months with dire warnings for a flailing world filled with foibled people, I turned my mind to praying for more serious intentions. The news is full of the world's problems. I noticed a headline that Christians are by far the most persecuted persons in the past year, worldwide.
And, there are always family and friends for whom to pray with their specific needs. There are people encountered in the brief errands yesterday, and there are always souls to pray for--the numerous who pass through the mind once we settle into the reality that prayer is a quite powerful presence of God in us, communicating, listening, enacting.
Where ever there is love and desire for the well-being of souls either in this world or in the other--the mystical realms of eternity to which we are all destined some day--then there is the power of communicating with God Is Love. When there is God's love in our desirous prayers, our affectionate prayers, praising and petitioning solicitation prayers, there is the peace of Christ controlling our hearts.
I suppose while making the most of a hermit's helper takes pre-organizing and readying of supplies and having a plan of what is the greatest need of tasks that I cannot do on my own, praying can be similar in that one must organize and ready the mind and heart and spirit for praying and praising. While at one point after thinking of the angel appearing to little Francisco, Lucia, and Jacinta about a hundred or so years ago in Fatima to remind them to pray, I thought I'd wasted time today with the humorous viewing distraction.
Am not sure, other than I am weary of the humorous distraction; but the pain is manageable now, and otherwise pained time would have passed with upset rather than humor. Humor did lift me out of what may likely have been discouragement. May I, Lord, in retrospect, offer prayers for anything in real life that the actors and actresses reminded me--persons, situations, conflicts, peace, love?
Well, I am offering it all, regardless, and tonight will praise and pray and what suffering of body continues (as the back is yet done in but not pushed farther, at least) will be offered as prayer, as well. Much love to God in Himself, for Jesus Christ His Son, for the Holy Spirit--and for all souls living on earth and living beyond the veil of temporal space and time. Will pray to make the most of praying!