Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Today, finally, I met with my spiritual director. I will admit, I didn't want to go. Again, I found myself in the situation of not wanting to tell him what I had to say. Sure, I knew he'd be understanding, but it has to do with things that are hard for ME to talk about. Which, of course, means that they are exactly the things that need to be discussed.
He knew some of what was going on as I'd sent him a word document with my last appointment request, a reflection I'd written that pretty much stated, at the core, some of my position. But it didn't say everything...a few things were held in reserve. I couldn't even WRITE them, but knew I had to STATE them when the time came.
God's grace. Always, His grace.
Our discussion was fruitful and dredged up something that has long been a problem. It's not really the first time it has come up, but this time, he saw something in this that points to something else. Something lacking in my life.
Suddenly he asked me, "Can you get away, even for a day? Find a retreat? Just...get away?"
I had immediate excuses...work schedule, grad school...ie if I "get away" my books come with me, thus rendering the retreat not a retreat. He understood, of course.
In hearing his suggestion, initially I was thinking, "I just WENT on a few retreats! I haven't been back that long!" I confess, though, that I wish I could take another weekend away in the silence and solitude of the monastery. The cost might be a problem as this wouldn't be a discernment retreat anymore, but I was already shrugging his suggestion off, anyway.
Our discussion continued, and near the end of our time, he restated that I should find the time to just...get away. Not to discern, not to "do" something, but to just get away from "HERE", meaning everything in my life. Get a new perspective. Get away.
"You need something to look forward to," he said, glancing at me appraisingly. "Everyone needs something to look forward to."
It took me awhile to see it, but in reflecting on our conversation, I remembered he was asking me what I see in my future, the things going on in my life. Essentially...What's going on in my life that has any real meaning? I cited work, which we discussed is just a job, not a calling or a career, I cited grad school, to end in May, graduation in June, God willing. But...then what? Sure I look forward to graduating, but it's not attached to anything but a piece of paper and a lot of debt. And I have this job that can't pay the loan....
I said it without explicitly stating it: I have nothing to look forward to.
I have nothing to work toward. I don't know my Vocation, I don't know what to do with the grad degree I'm working on and I'm stuck.
"Go visit your friends in Ohio!" my SD exclaimed. "Go! They'll be good for you!"
Dunce that I am, I still left his office thinking of the impossibility of "getting away" right now. Stretched ahead of me I see few free weekends, no time off, just work and school and family for Thanksgiving, and then the insanity of Christmas, then back for my last semester of school. Get "away?" I'd LOVE to! I LOVE my dear Ohio (and Indiana!) friends! I WANT to go back to Ohio!
But of course, as good spiritual direction goes, the important message eventually kicks in.
Of COURSE! Get away!
Sure, first he suggested a retreat, which would be nice, but there's no way I could go on a retreat and not turn it into discernment. I have this problem of needing to make everything "useful".
What my SD sees is that what I really need is what I'm COMPLETELY lacking in my life: fun.
There's no fun. Anywhere. Everything is compartmentalized. Everything is regimented, and my free time...is still dedicated to the "hum-ho" of life. It's not exactly "fun". Oh, sure there are the occasional weekend evenings with friends, but out of months at a time of intensity, what is a few hours of friendly escape? Just a drop in the bucket and that drop is too small to even create a ripple.
He's right. The reason I've been so danged depressed is that I have no goals, I have nothing to look forward to, nothing to plan and "romance".
It's so completely obvious I can't believe I didn't see it.
So...am looking at the calender. Am not sure how I'm going to pay for it with so much debt, but if God wills it, I am going to Ohio, I will figure out how to pay for it (seriously, the plane ticket is usually not THAT expensive), and I'm looking forward to seeing my friends again!
Of course, looking forward is much easier when the date is actually circled on the calender and the plane ticket is being located....
Oh, I need this......
The email has been sent to my friends.....oh, now planning the adventure is underway.....