I like to escape. I want to run into other people’s definitions of me. Maybe I just have no idea who I am? Perhaps I am afraid of who I am? If I can wear a uniform I am happy. When I can fall into a role I can actually do I feel a sense of security. What when all of that is no longer available? Find a role? Create a role?
I have a comfortable rhythm to life at the moment. But I can hear the voice that questions everything. And the idea that I need to complicate things to make them real. Or, maybe, to make me real?
I have been thinking about my “religious past”. I feel drawn to a more “catholic form of Anglicanism”. Yes, I go to Mass and I like the formal terminology for clergy. I cross myself and I like kneeling. I like crucifixes. Is all of that an escape? Or is there something very personal about it all that touches me on a fundamental level?
Sorry for all the questions this morning. Anyway, a slow start to the day!
So I am back online. And I am no longer positive for Covid-19 and starting to return to my awkward self.
I have decided to start walking again – for exercise. Today I walked to the shops to buy chocolate! The irony!!!!
Emotionally I think I am improving. Being sick really did not suit me. But I think it gave me space to look at things. There is no need to be too legalistic about things: I am not recreating a medieval form of life but trying to borrow some of the insights for a modern age. And I do actually enjoy the life.
I have been praying the 15 oes in the afternoon. Very English! Also very personal.
I have not written for a while so I thought I would add something today! I still have no internet – as in a connection to the NBN network. But that is ok! I have a date and a time for the install. In the meanwhile I am enjoying the silence and distance that I have without being “connected”.
I have settled into a nice routine. I have questions but I am allow time and God to reveal the answers. I have been reading (mostly about Fr William Sirr and Brother Harold) and am glad to find like-minded people in the not too distant Anglican past.
I have thinking about the modern idea of productivity – doing something with your life. What product am I producing? What work am I doing? I struggle with those questions. But I have been wondering if my struggle is not really with the modern idea that I have to be doing something to be someone?!
So trust in God! Surrender! I need to need Jesus in my life. Longing for him and him alone.
I have moved, I have settled in, I have no internet! That is about the situation. I am using the data on my phone. On a positive. I am not endlessly browsing the net to look up random facts. (Yes, I do that all the time.)
Beside that (and to be honest, it is the only problem I have) life is very nice. I pray, I read, I meditate. I have gone to two sessions of meditation a day that brings me almost to an hour a day. I have settled into a routine with food – no sugary drinks for two weeks.
I have a session of silence each day and two days of complete silence. I sit and listen to the birds on the roof and read a book. I am trying to be as environmentally sensitive as I can. Simplicity is maybe the third ‘S’ of solitary.
I guess the real victory (if there is such a thing) is that I am sleeping really well. I still wake in the night. But now I use that time to pray for people. Maybe it is God’s way to move me to pray for particular people?
I was prayed for by the parish last Sunday and then The Anchorage was blessed. It was very overwhelming. So I will have to write about it another day. It felt so right!
So a small update has become an essay! I am planning a podcast – Sunday Night @ The Anchorage. Anyway …
Today is moving day. The “experiment” is becoming more permanent. The parish I attend has “confirmed my vocation” (if that is right) and I am testing my calling to the solitary life in a house provided by the parish. The parish has renamed the house “The Anchorage” and I am to be prayed for this Sunday.
It feels completely weird to be affirmed in that way. It is a way out vocation that few even know about in the modern church. But a vocation that is fostered and encouraged by the leadership of the parish, especially the clergy. And, to make this even weirder, in a parish that some consider to be charismatic.
Yet a parish that is an example of the church of tomorrow – no churchman allegiances or partisan politics. A parish in which the sign of the cross is as much at home as the raising of hands in prayer. A parish that is not huge (yet) but strong in Jesus. I am constantly amazed at how God works in these people. It makes me feel humbled that I can be part of it in a very small way.
So I am packing up my books, going to pick up some furniture, and then packing the car and moving.
I have tried to write this post four times. I got pretty far yesterday but then decided to delete it. So I will try again …
I feel overwhelmed and excited at the same time. There is major change coming in the next 6 days. Most has been a lot of work for faithful people who have sacrificed their time and energy for me. I am never sure why people would do that for me and I am never sure how I can ever thank them.
So a few random observations: I am part of a Christian community that is so (read SOOOOOOOOO) different from anything I have ever experienced. Maybe not what I wanted but most certainly what I needed!!!! Yet the fact that I am part of a community that embodies the multiple dimensions of both the Body of Christ and Anglicanism gives me hope. The community is willing to try different things (even my crazy ideas) and is motivated by love of neighbour.
I am so excited about the future of this community. Struggle, yes! I do not agree with everyone (or anyone) but I need not agree with people to love them. In the past, I adopted positions to please other people. I will try to throw my ideas into the pot but I am not the final cook – sorry, that is the worst metaphor ever.
Within this community, I think (I believe) I have a vocation. Somewhat a strange one but things have worked out in a way that I cannot but see the hand of God. And again, I have hope for the future. I am hesitant to share the particulars of that vocation – yet, again, I am fearful of what other people will think and what other people will assume.
So there you have it! I needed to write this down for myself. I needed to put it “out there”.
While it’s true that some lived alone in a single small room, some of them had multiple rooms, or even an entire house. There are even examples of women living enclosed in groups of two or three. Usually, but not always, this was because there weren’t enough spaces for women wanting to be anchoresses and having to join someone who was already enclosed.
Anchoresses were not left on their own. There was always some church official keeping an eye on them. They also received a lot of visitors, frequently pilgrims, most of them seeking advice. Many anchoresses also lived in cells attached to churches and some of them weren’t restricted just to their cell, but to the church building as a whole.
The article makes an interesting point about the use of “anchoress”.