Saturday, September 09, 2006

Hermit time

I fell asleep last night to the music of singing crickets. This might seem unremarkable, but for me it's a special treat. Because of my husband's allergies we live in a sealed environment most of the year, but he's gone for a week on a business trip, so I get to do daring things like sleep with the windows open, eat what I want when I want, and revel in solitude.

Don't get me wrong; I love him and I'm looking forward to having him back, but in the meantime I'm going to enjoy some solid hermit time. There's so much I need to process--to think about, not think about, pray about, read about, write about--and a week by myself should provide some space for that.

I've been finding so much great stuff to read on the Internet: blogs, essays about Ignatian and Benedictine spirituality, articles, and etc. etc. Blogs especially. I wonder if God surfs the web; there's so much that's being sent his way via that medium. Rachel over at The Big Dunk wrote this past week:

"Sometimes I feel a little bittersweet about the fact that I can share that with so few people in my life. If a friend (even a close one) were to ask how I was, or what I was up to, I would say all the things that I am up to, but probably wouldn't say that I was struggling with my prayer practice, or loving the liturgy each week, or dreaming of the day when I can pray the hours on retreat."

And I know just how this is. There practically no one I can discuss this stuff with here in what I've seen referred to as "the meat world." Well, let's be accurate: there is exactly one person. It's exciting to find so many like souls out there, yet at the same time, there's something missing in that we can't all get together somewhere and have this conversation in real time. One thing I found that interests me is a Benedictine monastery in South Dakota with an online oblate chapter. I've been curious about the Benedictine oblates since I first heard of them a few years back, but the nearest Benedictines I know of are more than an hour away and time is short (and gas is expensive!).

An online group would be perfect (and would even allow me to dodge my question about whether I should still be receiving communion in the Roman Catholic church) but I can't help wondering how it could work. It's one thing to talk about this stuff, which is to say to apply your mind to it, but I also need the spirit of community that comes of gathering together in prayer. Even though the people I know locally may not totally understand where I am spiritually, that goes away when we gather to worship because what we have in common is so much more significant than what's different about how we approach God.

Anyway, I have a couple more books on order, though it's not clear if I'll actually use them or add them to my shelf full of other books I purchased with good intentions and never fully explored. I've tried for a while to stay away from acquiring books because of that tendency, but just now there seem to be so many things I want to understand more about that I'm falling back into the habit, and online shopping (hooray again for the Internet!) makes it so easy.

So, waiting for the postman ...


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