On Friday I finally got word from Laura and David that the deal had closed at 1. Thank heavens! Even though I had to lower the price by 55K at least the hollow is sold and I can move out on August 15.
On Saturday I went up to visit Gyorgyi and Laura, her niece, and Gyorgyi made us a fine lunch, then we drove downtown and Gyorgyi graded papers and I took Laura around the Market but she stayed mainly in the Chocolate Gift Store. I was somewhat surprised by all the racy stuff in it and how much you saw the “F” word all over the place. After that we went back to Gyorgyi’s and played Scrabble and I left in time to get home to do my porch ritual.
Sunday was a difficult day, one of being anxious and lonely. I ended up playing golf and riding my bike and heading back to do my porch prayers. I was so upset and tired that I broke down and cried and I didn’t even finish my porch prayers.
Monday was okay because I had so much to do. Drive to the Radford Hospital while fasting for bloodword, then picking up meds, then driving to Hethwood to sign the lease (which I know is a little too expensive but I will live with it for at least a year). Stroubles is a nice area. One of the reasons I am so tired is that it is almost impossible for me to nap. A good hour nap would feel so fine and I am sure I would function better. I drove back home around 12 then did some cleaning around the house (Laura and David are visiting Wednesday while I am in chemo). Then I did my knee exercises and eventually headed into town to go to the Holy Spirit group. This was a good one, with almost 20 people and a lot of singing (most of the participants know the songs but I certainly don’t although I do sing low and it gives me comfort. I spoke up once about how angry I used to get about the people who harm the environment and how I still have a bitterness in my heart because of that and how that may be interfering with my connection with the holy spirit. I talked to Joseph after the meeting and told him how much I respected him, how much holiness and goodness he contained, and that I felt I was so far away from such things. He told me that I was now on the right path and that I had to keep at it and my spiritual life would get better. I drove home feeling pretty good about things and the meeting was the main reason.
On Tuesday, I got up pretty early but had a tough time getting out of bed. I finally did and then I did more cleaning around the house, then my knee exercises, then a good bit of reading from the Bible and from Rediscovering Catholicism Matthew Kelly 2002 “The authentic life is compatible with any honest human activity. All honest work can be transformed into prayer. You can transform your work into prayer one hour at a time, one task at a time.” So as I am writing my blog—which I realize is becoming more and more about my spiritual striving—I want to think of it as a prayer. I am not so sure trimming my road was a prayer but I do see the point. “Offer the actions of your life to God as a prayer, whether you are washing the dishes, repairing a car, or studying for an exam, and by your inner intention, you will transform ordinary daily activities into the noblest tasks.” 61 This seems a little too much for me, but for someone like Glenda or Joseph, I think that most of their lives are a prayer. What a lovely thought. “Whether your work in this life is as a street cleaner or a senator, remember that the interior effect that the work we do has on our soul is infinitely more important than the exterior fruits of our work.” I hope to be returning to teaching in January and this is something I really want to concentrate on. I don’t want to just teach to get paid (and I think I am still a decent teacher, as Nancy Taylor said) but to have a real purpose in my teaching sounds very comforting. I want to have more patience with the students and conference with them more, instead of seeing some of them as adversarial. “Every day God invites you to be all he created you to be.” That is a noble thought and I think my getting more involved in the Catholic Church, my porch prayers and songs, my watching more and more Christian TV (mass, rosaries, the stations of the cross), listening to Christian music as I drive all are helping me to become a better person. I have stopped watching violent or sexual movies or much news (which is so often filled with violence) and I do think, the lack of such imagery has helped me. I have to learn to be more reflective about the spiritual and allow that to bring peace and joy to me. “My experience of people and life continually teaches me that those who have no central purpose in their lives fall easy prey to petty worries, fears, troubles and self-pity” 72 I certainly have been guilty of that. Right now my central purpose in life is to connect with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. That I am really struggling is not the important thing; the crucial thing is that I do have this higher purpose, not just to be a decent teacher, not just to be a good friend, not just to take my hikes and ride my bike, but to see the limits of these things (though I understand how prayer can enter in) and to see that my connection to Jesus and the Holy Spirit are so much more important.
My blog is certainly changing. Earlier the title “Rebirth in the Hollow” was far, far off. I loved the hollow and every hike I made I would stop at my white pine and thank it for each hike, each night in the hollow and that I might stay in the hollow as long as possible, but that was really no “Rebirth.” After the beginning of my battle with lupus in December, the hollow became a different place, especially after I ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. However, lupus has allowed me to return to the Catholic Church and to try to achieve a much greater purpose in my life. I hope that once my chemo ends in September, I will be able to be more active with the Church.
One of the things mentioned again and again in the books I am reading is repentance. When I look at how many sins I have committed I realize how skewed my sense of right and wrong was when I was younger. Getting drunk through my teens, and my twenties and into my mid thirties (finally stopping after my first year at Radford), having sex with a number of women and having dark and violent fantasies when I pleasured myself, treating my ex-wife disrespectfully (although she told me recently she forgave me years ago), getting angry with a number of people for very small reasons, being less that compassionate with my students at points. When I try to look at my good points, certainly my love of nature stands out and the many articles I wrote to protect the natural world. I have also been a good and generous friend and that remains a positive. But I was so stubborn and arrogant and contentious so, so often and for so long. Thankfully Lou and I have gotten back together and we both admit it is helping us both. I do think I have been given a chance to change through my connection with the Catholic Church and I am a real fool if I don’t try my hardest to move toward connection with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.