I know I haven’t posted anything in a while but nothing all that blog-worthy has happened in my life lately. I’ve just been kind of going through the motions this week. Nothing terrible, nothing outstanding.
It’s been somewhat busy with work. I finished the creative and constructive portion of a project that I’ve been focused on for the past two months which has left me feeling pretty spent by the time I got home. I did all the usual things during my “me time”: grocery shopping, paying bills, relaxing in front of the tv. Over the weekend I did some much-needed sleeping in. I’ve been putting together puzzles some to give me something different to do – and to help me feel like less of a lazy bum. I’m currently about 1/3 of the way through a 1,000pc. puzzle of Monet’s Red Boats, Argenteuil (1875). I’m a big Monet fan – I have a copy of his Les Barques, Regates a Argenteuil in my kitchen and I wrote an extensive research paper on him in high school – but damn it makes for a tough puzzle! To add to it, the pieces aren’t necessarily the more “traditional” shapes.
I must say that I haven’t been extremely happy lately. It’s not that I’m sad or depressed or anything like that, just without joy. I know that since I moved and stopped attending the church I’ve been a member of for the past couple of years it could be said that I’ve brought upon myself this lack of social interaction that I am experiencing. I’m sure that that is true, in part, but it doesn’t name the cause. Even though I don’t attend that church anymore, when I was there I didn’t really interact all that much with the people – no more than the usual small talk anyway. Since leaving and moving, I haven’t really lost any friends – probably because I don’t have all that many that live around here (none that live within a half hour) – and even though I don’t have the social component that church brought it wasn’t really offering a high quality, or quantity, of relationships so there really wasn’t much lost there either.
Maybe it’s on a more spiritual level that I notice this lull in my joy. A friend of mine was telling me the other day that a spiritual life cannot exist outside of the community. Even though the individual experience is an important part of it, the social aspects of the practice of religion is more important. I have to say, from the start, that I agree with the importance of the community and a full and meaningful encounter with the divine cannot happen in the vacuum of oneself alone. During the conversation, when I was explaining that even though I hadn’t yet begun a formal search for my new spiritual home, I expressed that I’ve been doing my best to remain faithful. I’ve been taking time out of my days to be in prayer and to reflect on God’s presence in the world around me, and so on. I know that it isn’t enough to be faithful alone, I should be a part of a larger faith community as well. I just feel that during this time of transition when I’m not just jumping into something new to replace the old – rather I am still letting go of the old before I feel ready to embrace something new – I need to do something to keep myself connected with God, whether it’s alone or not. Besides, it’s only been a month and I am planning on beginning my visits the Sunday after Labor Day. I just don’t feel like I should be told that what I’m doing isn’t good enough. I hold the opinions of others, particularly friends, to be valid and worth considering. I even feel, more often than not, that they have a good point even if it doesn’t happen to be the way I feel. And I try not to convince them that I’m more right than they are all the time. I would hope that they would feel the same about mine.
I’ve appreciated all of the support I’ve gotten from many of those whose opinions I respect the most – and I haven’t appreciated it more because they say what I’ve wanted to hear. For example, I listen to and respect what my dad has to say a little more than I would others because of his experience, his intelligence, and, yes, because he’s my dad – not in the sense that I have to because he’s my dad, but because over the course of my life I find it hard to remember a time when he hasn’t been right about the important stuff that life presents. He has a track record with me. We have a history.
I’ve gotten some skepticism though too, even some instances that have been taken as belittling of my decisions. I think that anyone who really knows me knows that I make decisions very thoughtfully, especially major ones. This decision was like none I have ever made before and more difficult too. It was a fundamental change which is why it took years for me to finally make it. I think it’s impossible for someone to truly appreciate what I’m going through without having had a similar experience. No offense, but for someone who has lived in the same religious tradition his/her entire life and has known without much, if any, doubt what his/her beliefs are than it’s difficult for that person to understand where I am with this. And they shouldn’t judge if they don’t really understand.
There are many approaches to every situation. Yes, there can be a difinitively wrong approach to certain situations, but to most it’s more ambiguous. This is a hard process for me. One I’ve never been faced with before, ever. It’s going to take some time. It’s possible that I’m going to trip along the way. I just hope that compassion and supportiveness prevails when it’s easy to judge and when the need to be “right” takes the lead.