Thursday, March 30, 2006

Where ya been, dude?

I have been recuperating from some otorhinolanryngeal infections (not too severe, just so draining, like mono), dealing with some political (and ego-driven) scullduggery at work, trying to get a leg up on a big writing project I've let slide (no, this one isn't even for the blog -- it's so big it's offline! /gasp!/), learning French and Spanish with some audio programs on my iPod as I travel to and from work, trying to keep up with tai chi and judo, returning to Chinese lessons three times a week, and basically dealing wtih any number of things that make up a life. I have gotten a number of important letters out at last. Strangely enough, over the past few weeks I've been sleeping more, which is surprising given my habits, but good. Culturing and drinking snow fungus yogurt (it's a Tibetan thing) has seemed to work wonders on my sinuses and allergy problems.

I am happiest to report that I have finally, by the grace of God, gotten on fairly stable and healthy ground as far as Lent goes. I am avoiding mortal sin more ably, praying a bit more regularly, my hunger for God's Word in the Bible has spiked (with the added bonus of keeping my German in shape by switching full-time to my German Catholic Bible), and, once my food-only med series is over, I am ready to fast and pray for peace in Iraq. Fasting is not merely self-denial; it is strategic self-denial for the sake of something better. A desert father (or perhaps just "Eastern Christianity" in general) once called fasting without prayer the fasting of demons. On the negative side, I have fasted from and reading any other blogs. On the positive side, I've also committed to a daily examen of conscience (or "consciousness" as now seems to be the hipper sense of the practice). I haven't kept this discipline perfectly, which grieves me, but I shall keep walking, even hobbling, in the light.

I'll admit it has been a very hard time for me lately. Lent has been a very trying time for me, not the least because I've been so aware of my lack of zeal, depth and piety. While I have finally formulated a solid, feasible timeline for the next two years, the present is often a very inscrutable fleeting mystery to me these days. Yesterday was a testing day, so we got off early; I made remakrably good use of the extra time by completing numerous errands. Even so, once the dust had settled, and I was left with myself, I experienced an all too familiar disorientation, perhaps even faceless disquietude. My confessor told me I must learn to "float" right now; the time for deciding, moving, changing, beginning and all the other "active" parts of growth will come. Right now I am in an opaque sea, and feel disconnected from my usual delights, feel removed from my old assurances and alliances. I won't say it's a "dark night of the soul" -- more of a hazy early morning. I can't seem to sink my teeth into anything. I'm not actually sad (at least, not very often); it's more the case that, when I look within, I often feel as opaque and amorphous as this sea on which I am floating.


Anonymous said...

Hey guy, remember that down here we only see through a glass darkly, especially I think when we look within. But also remember that we walk by faith, and not by sight; the Holy Spirit has not given up his dwelling place in you just because you don't always see and feel Him there. At least believing that amazing fact helps me when I'm feeling "opaque." Your honesty in assessing your day to day walk with Christ is admirable, and I think it's OK that we don't always have to feel the joy of our union with the Trinity, even though we don't doubt the awesome reality of the Gift. It's late, I'm rambling.
Good luck, God bless and keep the Faith!

Ian said...

I've been offline as well, so sorry for not seeing this sooner.

Please be assured of my prayers. God bless, and may He guide You to hold firm to the Faith.