Tuesday, June 6, 2017

More reflections on the path to the Holy Spirit

     Thursday was another slow morning, struggling to get up and doing my knee exercises and finally heading in to get blood work at Rob’s after I picked up my medication at Walmart.  I got in a bike ride at Tech, past the duck pond and along the flat road nearby.  I drove home in time to do my porch devotions, some conversation with Jesus, then Claire Hall’s visualization meditation, then my singing (which actually seems to be getting better as I try to practice the notes after I finish my evening on the porch).  I then practiced some of the jazz pieces, cooked dinner and watch the Cavaliers get clobbered by the Warriors.  I can’t imagine many people actually enjoyed the game.

    Friday I woke slowly again, reading some (I have given up on Herodotus, but I did read perhaps 50 pages, enough to give me a taste of his writing). I am still reading chapters from the Bible, and Huxley’s Point Counterpoint is engaging enough but I am not sure how they put it on the Modern Library top 100, the same feeling I have about Graham Greene’s The Heart of the Matter, a sad and stylistically not that interesting volume. Perhaps these books aren’t resonating that much because of the chemo and prednisone. I’m not sure. I decided I needed to get out so I called Claire Hall and we ended up having a sushi lunch at Greens in Blacksburg. We talked some about my situation, particularly about the hollow sale problems and then spent some time on our feelings about divinity. Claire see the universe as very friendly to her and Luke and I think that is a wonderful way to feel. I think I felt pretty good toward the universe until December and my kidney lupus diagnosis. Now the universe seems a pretty negative place and I realize my trying to connect with Jesus and invite the Holy Spirit into my heart are a big part in trying to bring some hope and peace into my life. I have mentioned to several friends that if I went to bed one night and didn’t wake up the next morning, I wouldn’t be that troubled. I have lived a reasonably successful life but very little of that seems important right now. I always knew I was a little fish in a fairly little pond so I never tricked myself that way. Claire told me about her Baptist background where there is no intense search for the Holy Spirit; it comes with the religion, and no need for confession since Jesus’s sacrifice freed us from sin. I have been avoiding any sinful acts since I got involved with Saint Mary’s and I feel for the first time in my life I really am able to control my lustful fantasies. I have had moments where a lustful thought comes to me but I touch my crucifix and am able to resist. When I met with Darbi to sign the 1000 dollars repair waiver, she was very kind and told me that she could almost 100% guarantee that she could sell the hollow for at least 150K once the railroad approves the crossing. That figure would wipe out all my AXA money but it would at least get me out of the hollow and into town. If Darbi can’t sell it at all (my deepest and darkest fear), I will just have to keep living there for now. If my health was back, then that would be feasible, but not at all what I want to do. The irony of course is the many, many times I spoke to my favorite white pine, thanking it for each hike, for each night in the hollow, and asking to be able to stay in the hollow until I was 70. I may have to really change back to that perspective. Staying in the hollow would allow me to keep a big chunk of my AXA money (now 91K) and that would allow me to hire people to fix the things that will come up over time. Claire also helped sketch out an outline for my blog project. I didn’t sleep that well when I went to bed, troubled by the stuff Claire and I spoke about but I did get up pretty early, have a cup of tea and start writing the first section, tentatively titled Hesitation, which may be the overriding metaphor for the project or at least for my relationship with Tracy. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t so I went out and decided to cut back the trees that were getting too close to the right corner of the house (I don’t want any squirrels getting up to the roof) and after I finished (and each step was a struggle and I got the chainsaw stuck twice—once should have taught me enough of a lesson but luckily didn’t break it in extricating it), the roof is protected. I didn’t cut up everything but after resting a bit I cleared out all the fallen stuff by the pile of 357 so I should have easy access to it if need be. I was exhausted but glad I accomplished so much but when I got inside my arms were bleeding at from several of the dark spots. That was a bit freaky but I rinsed them off and they stopped bleeding pretty quickly. I then practiced piano for a good bit and then good showered and shaved for 5 O’clock Mass. I had a Southwest salad at McDonald’s and I do think I am going to go to the vigil at 10. Hopefully it will help my search for the Holy Spirit. I did go to the Vigil and I thought it was helpful. I think that Belinda and Joseph are wonderful people and they seem to have a goodness about them that was so very appealing in my present state. Two of Joseph’s main points deal with turning away from the material world and toward Jesus, and repentance for our sins. I certainly can give a long list of sins. I began masturbating at a very young age and then sex became an important part of my life. After my first visit to Father John at St. Mary’s I have finally been able to control my lustful and often dark fantasies. This is the first time in my life I have been able to do that and I think this is probably the best thing I can do to try to have the Holy Spirit enter my heart. In terms of repentance, how I treated my ex-wife Tracy is the thing I most regret. I wish I could have been a better husband, but an obsessive relationship with a young woman I met at Radford haunted her our entire relationship. I have also had anger problems throughout my life often related to the heavy drinking I started in my teens and didn’t give up until my mid thirties (much before I met Tracy, fortunately). But I don’t drink and Tracy wants no contact with me so there is no way to express how sorry I am about how I treated her.

 On Monday, I had a rough morning, first messing up the shock test on the spring. The lousy weather also affected me and I ended up taking 2.5 mg of Valium twice during the day. Fortunately, I went to the Holy Spirit group at 7 and that was calming. I do need to be with people more often.

 Tuesday was a calmer day. The weather was sunny and I did my knee exercises then took a hike down to the first stump and walked back without stopping. I rested briefly and then practiced some of the songs I sing in the evening. I am reading the Lamb’s Supper, which focuses on how going to mass is like being in heaven, an interesting thought. I am trying to become as immersed in Catholic things as I can and I am listening to Christian radio songs and avoiding violent TV programs and not watching the news at this point. I am also going to hold on my blog book since that the section about Tracy leaving is quite sad and I may try to focus on my spiritual things, which really is my main goal. I met Jen Jordan at 3 and we went over Luke Chapter 1 and she explained a few things and we had a good discussion about her path to the Holy Spirit and how I am trying hard to find that path. Then I went to Dr. Trivedi’s and the news was pretty good. My hemoglobin is 7.5 but she says that the chemo is keeping it down so she is not too worried. My protein in the urine is up (12.5) but it was around 8 last time and she says that varies. My creatine was 1.4, which is improving as was my Albumin, 3.0. I have another chemo scheduled for the 21. She wasn’t too worried about my bruised arms and she thought that cutting the calcium and eating prunes would help my constipation. She did somewhat reluctantly lower my prednisone to 20 mg per day. She had no problem with the Valium use.

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