Monday, May 11, 2009

Desert Spirituality

As George Carlin used to say, "I'm not sick, I just don't feel good". It's a typical Monday morning and I'm moving a little slow. I continue to be astonished at how quickly weekends seem to pass. It seems like I was just sitting in an Italian restaurant with my wife enjoying a delicious pizza. That was Friday night. In what seems like the blink of an eye I am back at work and now it's Monday. I am dragging a bit. My leg aches and I am not sure why plus I have no energy. Part of that may be from a lack of quality sleep over the weekend. Whenever my granddaughter spends the night I never sleep well. She always sleeps with my wife and me and most of the night she is all over the place and I am hanging on the side of the bed. It's a small price to pay for the enjoyment of her visits. She is so sweet and loving and it does touch me deeply when she says "I love you, Pa Paw"! She is growing up so fast. I want to enjoy every moment I can with her. She is my only grandchild and the prospects for more are bleak. When you only have two children, and one is studying to be a priest, your chances for multiple grandchildren are slim.

From a spiritual perspective, much of the way I have been feeling in recent weeks and months could be described as "being in the desert". Desert spirituality is very strong in the Catholic tradition although most everyday Catholics have no idea what it means. Monasticism is rooted in the desert spirituality of the 2nd and 3rd centuries. When I think of desert spirituality I think of those moments in your life where you feel as though you are just wandering around, feeling lost. I also think of those moments where you feel empty, unmotivated, unloved, and lonely. In such moments God seems to be hiding. My life is full of such moments though many might wonder why. I don't think these feelings are necessarily a reflection on any of the people in my life or on God. My feelings don't imply a failure on their part. If anything, they reflect a failure on my part. Is life empty? Why am I unmotivated? Is there a reason I feel unloved and lonely? Is God hiding? It's very easy in such moments to think that no one really cares about me. Although I know there are people who care about me, I think there is something much deeper going on. When life feels empty, when we feel lonely and unloved, when we feel as though we are wandering in the desert and that God is hiding, I think God is telling us that nothing in this life can fill our needs except him...or her. I am reminded of all of this one more time because of a new book I am reading called "The Hermitage Within". As long as I have been trying to live spiritually, you would think that I would get it by now. But, as the title of this blog suggests, I am continuously "stumbling along the spiritual path". My life is a continual series of awakenings. One more time it is a spiritual dawn and I am slowly seeing the light.

No comments: