Monday, January 29, 2018

The Hermit Life

Each night on his MSNBC show "The Eleventh Hour" Brian Williams tells us what day it is in the Trump presidency.  Don't run away.  This is not a political commentary.  It just reminds me that today I am beginning the third week of my retirement from full time work.  The first week was dominated by snow, ice, and bitter cold.  The second week was dominated by the illness and death of my mother.  I am hoping this week begins my new "normal" which in many ways is a hermit life, at least in the daytime.  With that in mind it seems appropriate to return to some Thomas Merton.  Where to start with Merton?  I have read most of his major works and I don't think I have enough time in my life to read them again.  I decided to re-read a collection of journal entries entitled The Intimate Merton.  As I opened the book I immediately saw the following quote.

"I have always wanted to write about everything.  That does not mean to write a book that covers everything, which would be impossible, but a book in which everything can go.  A book with a little of everything that creates itself out of everything.  That has its own life.  A faithful book.  I no longer look at it as a book".  This was written by Merton on July 17, 1956.

If I ever get it together to finally publish a book of my own, this quote describes what type of book it will be.

At this time I am also reading Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr.  It is subtitled "The Search For Our True Self" and is a study of the illusions of the False Self and the seeking of the True Self.

Once I am home alone each workday, the first thing I do is sit in silence for about twenty minutes.  These early morning hours are my favorite time of day.  The early part of the day has always been my favorite time even when I was working.  Sometimes this time of day was shared with a co-worker who I was close to professionally and personally.  Coffee was always part of the relationship.

Shortly  I will go into the kitchen and make a pie for dinner.  Later in the morning I hope to begin the routine of walking in the park.  I can't deny that it will be challenging to leave my "hermitage" but I simply must start getting some exercise.  These last couple of weeks I haven't had much and I feel much older than I am.

By the way, this is Day 17 of my retirement. (smile)

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