Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Catholic Hermit: The S of Stability

In this nothing consecrated Catholic hermit's daily life, there is the undergirding platform of the Nine S'.  (I used to consider them my rule of life until I realized the Gospel Rule is the greatest and most suitable rule of life for any mortal.) 

The Nine S' are:  Silence, Solitude, Slowness, Suffering, Selflessness, Simplicity, Stillness, Stability, and Serenity.  We can see how in daily life they can support the living out of the Gospel in various facets.  It is living out the Gospel that is far more crucial and challenging, of course.  Yet the Nine S' augment and assist in living the Gospel.

It came to me today while working in the gable garret--filling trim nail holes and doing lots of touch up painting where I'd caulked yesterday.  (That little triangle room, would make a cocoon of a chapel, has more trim in it than a typical room due to the slanted ceilings, literally giving it the look of a triangle with standing only possible at the apex.)   Then I began laying out and installing the laminate flooring.

I bought the laminate flooring awhile ago, getting a super deal on five boxes as it was a return to Lowes of a non-stock item...then.  Now it is stocked, and I needed another box or think I will, so I bought a box slightly damaged for a bit of reduction.  

I'd never installed laminate, and after several rows "floated" and snapped in, with tapping and using a tug bar to make them fit tightly, I realized that the joints between laminate "boards" (not wood but for better term--slat?) were not snug enough.  I needed to remove the "boards" as a slight angling motion prior to sliding and snapping in place is needed.

Will continue that task in the morning.  Got very hot up there, and the old body had quite a work out for every two rows required going down the ladder with two "boards" to the compound miter saw on back deck, and then up the ladder again to fit the two rows.  The miter saw is on a stand, and if I had other similar tasks upstairs, I'd get a small compound miter saw--one not so large and heavy, to do the cuts in the garret gable itself.

Anyway, every time up and down that ladder from first floor to second, there is risk of falling, I suppose.  I don't think about it, so used to the ladder as means of getting to second floor for two years now.  I did screw down a 2x4 where the ladder rests on the first floor, so it will not slip since it is on quite an incline, up to the landing, and then I have a stool that I stand on like a large step, to heave the body the rest of the way to upper hall.

Stability.  I have been considering stability of all types.  

There is the stability of the ladder, for instance, and the stability of hardwood flooring compared to thin laminate.  Even if the laminate is quality, with foam backing to each piece as I have here, it is quite thin and is a pre-fabricated type product--not wood, but there is the look of wood grain to it.  So it is basically fake in a way, or a deception, perhaps, of real wood flooring.

Stability contains no deception.  One or an object is either stable or not, yet there are ways to make a person or a thing, stable.  And, the bulk of our thoughts might consider temporal stability, such as staying put in one place, remaining in one's job, keeping with one's education or other goals, being stable in a vocation such as marriage--or in the eremitic vocation.  

Yet I began thinking about inner stability.  And that brought the reminder of a comment a cousin made recently, pertaining to where I would go next from this place.  (I do have to finish if possible, sell, and move, for financial considerations. God has not provided a means to financially stay put, nor did He block my purchasing this place even though I had prayed that if not His will, to block it.  So here I am, in what has been a monumental fixer-upper--at least thus for an old hermit. with so much bodily pain and limited  income. Yet He certainly has provided the means to have gotten this far with the efforts.)

So my cousin said that I need to just go to a place and just live there the rest of my life: stay put!

I explained that such a plan is unlikely.  Several moves back, that was my plan.  And my plan was not what God planned.  Thus, one thing or another, and usually for financial considerations such as needing less house or expense when it came time to get children through college, and then odd circumstances to contend with, needing to relocate.  

Instead, the thought has come from without to within, or perhaps from within to without--that I am to be more nomadic, a nomadic hermit.  And go where the wind blows, so to speak, wherever and whenever God determines through whatever means that reaches into the temporal realm, such as finances or health or life-threatening neighbors, or whatever.  

Of course, being nomadic of sorts does not seem congruent with stability.  So I began to ponder other aspects of stability, meaning, of course, the inner type of stability.  We could consider that Jesus did not seem locationally stable, that is for sure.  Plenty of people thought He was not mentally stable.  

And in the garden of Gethsemane or when He was raising Lazarus from the dead and wept just prior, or when He wept over Jerusalem, or was angry with the money changers in the temple--perhaps then people thought Jesus was not emotionally stable, either.  

Yet the external signs of stability or instability, either one, don't necessarily touch the reality or potential existence of great inner stability.   It is inner stability which, to me, seems far more the challenge--maybe it requires somewhat of a grace from God to acquire inner stability.  I don't know, not yet, if this is the case or not.

But I do know that it is inner stability that is what I desire far more than any temporal types of stability.  No longer does it matter to me to stay put in any one location or dwelling, or to have more than basic necessity, financial stability, nor to have health stability, or so forth.  

Mental and emotional stability--often these are known to the individual although others (ourselves!) do tend to for opinions of others on these two considerations.  We judge easily what we think in others' stability in mind and emotion, and sometimes might even come close to a true enough external assessment.  But most often we really don't know and never should we be in the diagnostic business as amateurs that we are.

It is the inner stability that seems most useful and helpful, as well as most loving and merciful.  Inner stability of the type I am touching upon has to do with the spiritual--of faith hope, love and the close relationship--union desired--with God!  It is being stable in our quest and love and praise for and of God in Himself and then in our living out His love and mercy in regards our fellow humans and all creatures--flora, fauna, all God's creation.

As I do the manual labor tasks, there is no real stability in the efforts, and this has been a good exercise in learning to let go of external type stability.  There are always considerations and circumstance that intervene in external stability.  In fact, external stability is not so stable.  Weather, pain level, materials on hand, various interceptions of stability, even death!  As Jesus reminds, we do not know the day or the hour.  We do not know from whence the wind comes nor where it will blow next.

But inner stability: this is possible to possess and to be--stable!  This stability has to do with our being in Christ, remaining in His Love, and He in us.  God is totally stable; and our stability or ability to be stable rests only, fully, eternally, concretely, in our abiding in Him.

Only God is truly and fully, completely stable.  So if we want stability we'd best stick close to, be in, remain with:  God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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