Due to major changes in my personal and professional life, I now have more free time…more time to write, pray, ponder, read, exercise-one, all or none of these. I should be more grateful than I am and there should be more to show for this first full week of my new business arrangements. But I have written next to nothing this week nor have I done much of anything else.
My new large chunks of unstructured time make me uneasy as has always been the case in my life. And the current lack of deadlines in my life result in feelings of torpor, sluggishness and dullness.
Intellectually, I know one of the major reasons for these alien feelings is the publishing of a new book-not my first book but my first novel and the all too familiar let- down that has accompanied every huge project I have ever tackled. Completion never brings what we think…the ecstatic high five’s of a job well-done..or if it does, they don’t last more than a few hours, at most, a few days.
Completion opens the door to all of the “what now?”,” what’s next?” and “what is it I really want to do again?” questions. Although as the courtroom jargon contends, these questions have been asked and answered countless times, the fact that they are echoing once again means that I must pay attention.
I remember, as a brand new Benedictine Oblate, now 12 years ago, being fascinated by the word stability, axiomatic of Benedictine spirituality- a promise we make when we make our oblation. The word connotes stasis…an inner permanence despite external turbulence. To many in this change loving culture of ours, this concept of permanence, of a changeless inner core implies constraint, regulation; to me it is truth. I have learned that it is when I am most uncomfortable, have lost my inertia, that if I stick there, be willing to feel sluggish, even lazy, even bored and accept the anxiety of all of it…that the view from the other side is breath-taking.
And so I am grateful for the Benedictine wisdom to bear with the unpleasant feelings…to accept a lazy Sunday, an unproductive week…be still and know that I am God.