Friday, November 6, 2009

Letter to Regina Terrae

Read your post today, and wasn't able to comment so figured I would write in the hopes that you are reading.

Sounds like where I was last year when I was "driven out into the desert" of unconscious promptings and urgings, quit the job, moved out of the nice apartment, and lived in a bus. I can't say it was an especially enjoyful experience living in the bus, but dammit I had a good time doing it. I felt very alive. You are at a time of rebirth.

I liked what you said about security being for STUFF. Of course it is different when you have a family, I imagine, but since I didn't at the time (and still don't, yet), I wasn't really thinking of that. All I was thinking of was how to best serve God, and what he was calling me to do, whatever crazy thing that was, Noah-style; Abraham-style.

I don't really watch the news or television, or read the papers, because I don't know who to trust these days. Is the world really such an awful place, a place that you would not want to raise children in? I get anxious everytime I read about some natural catastrophe or Swine flu or terrorist attacks. So I just don't read about it.

I am finding that God really did help me in my unforeseen circumstances get a low-paying job and enjoying doing it. That last part was on me. I figure I am serving him even while mopping floors and making lattes.

I do not need nor want a lot of stuff. Medical bills and things like that are of concern. But God tells us not to worry. Think about it...in your situation, what can you really do but drop the house and move out of town? Maybe God is calling you out of it, like he was calling me out of my last job which I was miserable at. I don't think we're meant to be happy, but to be faithful. Our lives might not turn out the way we anticipated them (I always thought I would be a monk by now in the desert, look at me now).

The biggest thing I am struggling with is that "God will provide." I remember when I moved into my last apartment, a small studio, I didn't have any furniture and I was walking by and I saw this beautiful dresser out to trash just down the street, I had Debbie help me load it in her car (it fit!) and it was exactly what I needed. When I moved back to Doylestown, I needed a low-stress job, and I found one, one which I don't need to drive to and can get there and back in less than ten minutes, and one in which I work with good people. It's even kind of fun. But there have been lots and lots of people coming in wanting to apply. Why me? I will say it is providence.

I really really on the Exodus story in times like this...the Israelites called out of slavery and then imssing their fleshpots while wandering in the god-forsaken desert so long. Do you know the first night I moved into the bus and was officially homeless, surrounded by all my "stuff," I cried and cried and it rained and rained. I thought "how could I have done something so foolish!" I followed my heart. And it was foolish. That's what Christians are. Playing it safe never got anyone very far.

I don't have any financial advice for you except keep your expenses and expectations low, and accept whatever it is Providence hands out. Other than that I will be praying for you. You are beginning to lose the romantic notions of the wandering mendicant....it is nothing to be aspired to from the world's standpoint, and it is even a stretch for us really to want a life of no security. If God really exists...well, I guess he will catch you in his arms. You might suffer, die even, but just stay faithful. That's more pleasing than any accomplishment you can offer up.

Rob

1 comment:

reginaterrae said...

Rob ... how kind of you to write! I've been reading and reading your post, and mine, and then yours again. I'm going to post a link to your post on my journal.

Your thoughts, out of your experience, are very valuable to me. Yes, I am at a time of rebirth :) And your thought that we are not meant to be happy, only faithful.... true, our culture is so focused on the pursuit of happiness -- and yet we never find it, do we? Whereas in fidelity there is a deep sense of peace, sometimes joy or even bliss, but even in painful fidelity there is peace.

I think God is definitely calling me out of the city, out of my old life. It seems that he offered the big buy-out package to entice me to jump, but with the real estate collapse and inability to sell the house, all that buy-out money evaporated. He wants me out, but he wants me out with my hands empty, dependent only on Him. Blessed be God forever! Meanwhile, the delay has given me time to get to know myself a little better, a little more of my strengths and especially weaknesses, the ADD & PMS & sometimes depression. I am humbler, and a little better equipped with that self-knowledge.

One thing -- I have never had a romantic idea about the mendicant life, that was the former Poor Clare I wrote about. When she told me her story I was inwardly appalled: she was a young, capable woman, moving to one of the poorest areas of the country, choosing to beg from the poor instead of work, out of what I thought was a romantic notion about Francis the mendicant. I'm more of a Benedictine, as you know.... work and pray, pray and work. I just don't want to go back into the urban economy doing meaningless work. I'll happily milk the goats and sell the cheese, build a coop for the chickens and sell the eggs, weed the garden and sell the vegetables. The work I am rebelling against is work that's done just for the sake of money, that doesn't actually meet anyone's needs.

Bless you, Rob.
Regina Terrae