Believe it or not, one of my lesser resolutions this Quadragesima was to blog more often. Whahahaha!
There was a time when I could not envisage not blogging on a regular basis. It was one of the ways in which I kept in touch with friends, amongst which a group which became quite close-knit, not only in the vincinity but also rather farther afield. In the days before Twitter really took off (or perhaps I really am that slow on the uptake!), before ‘microblogging’ became passé, it was how many of us stayed updated on each other’s wel en wee, the ups and downs of life. We (I use the term loosely) could thus pick up on news and pass it on; but it wasn’t an entirely online interaction as most of us would see each other at church on the next Sunday, if not before. It all formed part of my social fabric at the time.
Well, I should have known not to be so ‘idealistic’ about such impermanent things; just like all creation (it’s a bit boggling to me, but in a good way, to realise that that social life was just as much part of Creation as any stunning scenery I might stand and admire) it changed and passed away – at least for me. This happens to everyone and everything, and just as an inordinate attachment to material things, similarly clinging on to intangible but nonetheless temporary and falliable friendships can (and will) be horrifically damaging to the soul. St. Aelred’s Spiritual Friendship it most deffinitely weren’t, loike, although they were by no means exclusively bad connections.
Once, when talking about the novitiate, a Dominican spoke of it being like a purifying fire, preparing the infant religious for the new life ahead. I of course paid no attention to this, because I am nothing if not bad at listening (which is unfortunate for a Benedicine oblate). But standing on this side of what has been a tumultuous half-decade I can only agree with the unheeded OP. It ‘feels’ as though I’ve been through the wringer. Two wringers. A whole Victorian-era laundry business get-up of wringers. Had I thought there were wounds before, then by now they’ve either been ripped open and stitched up again, or their scars have paled over time, outdone by the fresher ones, some still bleeding even now. Life is hard. Pick your hard. I don’t know how often I’d spoken those words to others around me, going through their own trials, but the quip always seemed so pathetic (as well as eminently true) when I had to say it to myself.
So that ‘world’ passed, or I passed out of it, and my blogging along with it. At times I miss the experience. It was a relatively safe and protected way to talk to people with whom I was more likely than not to be in agreement on many important things, and on a much more personal level I’m sure there’s some benefit to placing thoughts on cyberpaper at least fairly frequently. None of that is there anymore. I’m so much more aware that the tiny corner of the blogosphere which I inhabit is just that – tiny – and that the real influence to be had is in that cold, barren, seemingly inhospitable interior of my own self. There are no cell walls around me, however much I may want them, but I only have to turn away from the world to find a cell more cut off, more confrontational, more terrifyingly isolated than anything excepting the cells of the chronicled (and forgotten) English anchorites.
God be praised for Septuagesima; along with a host of other things, of course, but uppermost in my mind in typing this post, for Septuagesima. I will never be someone of great insights and what lesser insights I do have will only ever be of benefit to myself, but seeing as it is only my own soul’s health I’m completely responsible for that’s probably just as well. But it was during Septuagesima this year that the supreme audacity (yet when reasonably considered, not audacious in the slightest) of a desire peered around a corner.
I want, I brashly wrote in a letter, to be a saint.
Now each time I think about this the ridiculousness of it all gives me a fit of the melancholy giggles (you know the type – often overdone in films). At most I’ll be thought of – namelessly, thank goodness – at All Saints, and as such there will be no cause looking for diaries and all that nonsense (note to self: burn all of your diaries before you die). But if only to somehow help strip myself of all this stupendous worthlessness…it might not be so bad to put down stuff here that would otherwise threaten to cloud this seemingly lifelong novitiate with preoccupation.
So I’ll try and blog more.
suscipe me secundum eloquium tuum et vivam: et non confundas me ab expectatione mea
If only I weren’t always so absent at 10am on Mondays.