Sunday, September 16, 2012

Away From Home

I spent a couple of days in a motel room.

Feast day breakfast in motel room
That was odd for me, because I did it by choice. Up till recently, I would not have voluntarily left my own little "prayer space" for the secularity of a motel room unless I absolutely had to travel.

It's telling, I guess, that I came to this pass: my home was feeling "busy" and noisy; my thoughts were constantly interrupted; I was becoming anxious and irritated. Since I could not ask my family to leave, I left instead, seeking a little silence and solitude.

It was good, in a lot of ways. There was still noise, of course; it was a motel. The man in the room next door, talking to a woman, used a very loud voice with the "f" word sprinkled liberally throughout his diatribe...and I wasn't sure whether he was angry or just loud. At least this only occurred for a short period of time.  The second time it commenced, I put in my ear plugs.

I did a lot of writing, and was really only "interrupted" by my designated prayer times, which I observed faithfully...except for vigils. The second night, I slept through vigils. Sigh.

I learned something about eating: I eat at home out of anxiety and tension. I also eat because it's "time", and I have fixed a meal. I feel pressured to eat the meal with the family. I'm going to try to correct both of these issues.

I also was happy to find that the hermitage of my heart seems to have become more of a reality. In the past, I've not found it easy to pray in a motel room. This time, it wasn't so bad. Of course, it's nice to be back to my own personal, private chapel!

While I was away, I read some more about St. Theodora of Alexandria. She committed one big sin (infidelity to her husband), and did penance the rest of her life. She wept over that sin for the rest of her life. I do a lot of weeping myself, and although I would like to say it's over my past sins, too often it is not. It is over a selfish desire to live in silence and solitude. Oh yes, I want to do penance, for myself and for the world! But God has given me the opportunity to do that penance in my current situation, and too often I ignore his invitation. 

St. Theodora disguised herself as a monk, and lived in a monastery. Then a wayward young woman who had become pregnant accused "Brother Theodore" of being the father of her baby. Later, the baby was brought to the monastery and abandoned there, and the abbot banished Brother Theodore, who took the child and to raise himself. For seven years, St. Theodora lived outside the walls of the monastery raising the little boy. Of course she could have revealed her innocence at any time, but she simply accepted what God sent her.

I want to do the same. I am often tempted to weep and wail over the fact that I "missed my calling" to the eremitic life. But God allowed things to happen as they did, and I should be thankful for what He has given me, and for what He has done with my life. 

I'm working on it.

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