I don’t like the way I’m feeling right now. Funky, out of sorts, at loose ends. Until now, there have been few to none of these moments in the three weeks that I’ve been at Jubilee. This brief bout with ennui doesn’t approach Kathleen Norris’s acedia or the “dark agony” described by Henri Nouwen in a piece I read this morning about living in community.
The circumstances: This Saturday morning (Sept. 5) has been my monthly half day of retreat, and I’ve slept it away. I am in the retreat shack, encircled by the verdant woods, in splendid isolation, in the silence of nature. My plan was to write reflectively—emails to family, friends, church; possible blog entries; whatever emerged.
After opening the shutters, I settled on the porch and prayed—and slept. I read the provided chapter excerpted from The Intentional Christian Community Handbook about A Spiritual Life for (and in Spite of) Community—and slept and dreamt. I ate a cheddar biscuit left over from last night’s supper and sat back down in the chair on the porch and dozed some more. Then, I came inside and hooked up my computer and laid down on the bed for one last little nap–and slept for hours.
Unworthiness and guilt are flirting with me, though I am not much enticed because resting is obviously what I needed. And no wonder, with the hot, humid days of teaching and pulling weeds and picking in the garden and cooking and washing dishes and playing with the other volunteers and partners and on and on. Life is full and busy and nights are often restless, if not sleepless. Oh, and I’m 66 years old; there’s that.
Even in this gracious, delightful community of like-minded believers, feeling odd and out of place is flirting with me, too—and I am enticed. I don’t know what’s happening back there and how I can fit in. There was a “Last Blast for Summer Almost Past” festival in Comer that I had thought I might get in on this afternoon, but I’ve missed that. Other vols and I have talked of carrying a picnic to a nearby park later today. Maybe we will.
But I am here and where are they? Alone in a crowd is how I’m feeling. Odd man out. And yet I am confident that all I need to do when I’m done here is pack up my stuff and walk back up to K(oinoia)-House and this melancholy will vanish. Waking up from daytime slumber can be disorienting, and that’s part of what’s going on. Already, I’ve shaken the physical stupor and am feeling refreshed.
Thank you, God, for most this amazing day and whatever it may bring next. Now, I will trudge through the woods back to community, and see what’s cookin’.