Retreating inward.

It seems that, around this time of year, a lot of feelings surface in my heart — some that I like, some that I don’t like so much, but they are there and I can’t help but acknowledge them one way or another. It may sound a little crazy, but it’s almost like a bittersweet nostalgia is carried in the wind during Fall, and all of those who are inward thinkers can’t help but be taken back whether they care to or not.

I’m reminded now of early childhood, before being busy, before bills, before tuneups and oil changes and nine to fives, when you were happy to wake up with the sun and get outside in the yard and play. I remember when I got my first bike, I’d ride for hours! I always loved doing that… I’d usually find myself at a historic caboose that was parked on some railing on the edge of town, and walk around the water and the trees there, I even took a nap on the big flat rocks a few times. It’s funny how some things never change, even as a boy I preferred retreating inward and finding nice plans to be alone with my thoughts. I had friends, and we had many great times as boys, but some of my fondest memories include those personal walks to church, bike rides, painting with Grandma, reclining with Grandpa watching the news, asking them questions about life. I took a lot for granted, then.

It’s a shame that as we move on, we’re forced to let go of that child in many ways. We close our eyes one night, open them, and ten years have passed. Now, constant noise is mandatory, forty hours of your week, more or less, are obligated to a corporation where you are more of a cog in a wheel than a person, one which is workable and replaceable in most cases. We put these hours in at these places to get some of those fancy presidential pieces of paper, and give it all away, just to ‘survive.’ I’d expect some readers to think that, perhaps, I’m just a lazy good-for-nothing who expects to sit at home in dreamland and let the world pass me by, miss out on my American Dream and piece of the pie. I probably am. I just don’t think that my dream has anything to do with what has become ordinary of life. I’ve never understood the expectations, get a job, get a car, get a wife, get that house with the picket fence, have kids. None of these are bad things, but why is it supposed to be that way? Maybe I just have some growing up to do, and I can accept that, I just wish I was a little happier with the idea of corporate America…

… who am I kidding. I’ve never wanted anything to do with it. A life that would make me happiest would be as a married Orthodox Christian, serving as a Priest if this is God’s will, homeschooling my children and teaching them strong Christian morals, how to be content with the small things, and be happy without a television. Or if I’m not meant to be married, I’d want to live a monastic life. There’s nothing for me ‘in the world’ and I have always, always felt that way.

And now, these thoughts off of my heart and out of my head, I’m truly going to spend some time retreating inward. There’s a place waiting for me there that I’m more content with, and it needs a little cleaning up.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, the sinner…

Hieromonk in prayer

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5 Responses to “Retreating inward.”

  1. Dear fellow INFJ and brother in Christ,

    Would it be redundant if I say “I know exactly what you are talking about”.

    I never wanted anything to do with Corporate America, Corporate UK, Corporate Germany or any other Corporate way of being. I never wanted anything more than “to be alone” and to seek the desert.

    Even when I was a neo-pagan I was called a “solitary”. Every expression of my life has had to do with working alone (self employment or working on my solitary hobbies) , reading alone, praying alone, going to the movies alone. A person can be with many other people and still be “alone” with their thoughts. “Alone” and “solitude” has nothing to do with the necessity of earning a living, or working in the world.

    If I have to come right down to it, I’d rather be a hermit than anything else. A hermit, can still be part of a community, without belonging to it, or allowing it to possess him. (or her.)
    Someday, when I find the perfect shack in a coastal town, where I can assert my squatters’ rights, I might just do it.

    God bless you….I am praying for you today that your journey inward is fruitful…
    S.

  2. There’s a quote from Gen. MacArthur that I share in moments like this:

    “We are not retreating. We are advancing in the opposite direction.”

  3. desertseeker Says:

    I think you’re in good company. I too am caught up in a culture I find frustrating and futile. While I work in the city, we live out in the country, don’t have television, and find “the system” tiring and empty. I often think it would be so much better to have lived back in simpler times, but I know God has put me here at this time, and I believe we can find Him and abide in Him, and His grace and understanding reach out and make up for all the cultural nonsense we live in.

  4. @Columbina: By your prayers, interior prayer has proved fruitful lately. As I’m sure you understand, that’s all I can say of the matter. May the Lord bless you, dearest sister.

    @Justinian: That quote strongly applies! Thank you.

    @Todd: I remember when I talked to my spiritual father about feeling as though I should have been born in a different time, and he quickly reproved me, saying that this is a delusion, as Providence has placed us exactly where we are intended to be. Now, I see what he means — when I see my physical and spiritual sloth, my temperament, my lack for love of the Gospels, my neighbor, and the Lord, I don’t see how I could have lived in those times in a strong, spiritual sense. Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more. I’ve learned that my desires to retreat into the desert are vain and worth nothing, if I can’t first learn to retreat into the desert of my own heart, and find my peace and consolation there. “Abide in Me, and I in you,” as our Lord Jesus Christ said.

    This, of course, was not to belittle you in any way — it was only good for me to ponder on and remember the words of my beloved priest, and see how they apply to my wretched soul.

    Prayers for you all,

    Isaac

  5. desertseeker Says:

    Yes, Isaac! I appreciate those very wise words your spiritual father shared with you. Thank you for sharing them with me. Blessings!

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