I need days of solitude. I took a complete day off in solitude and silence this past weekend for the first time in 7 months. Note to self: 7 months is too long.
I could feel my off-centeredness. My body was aching from all the transition of my job, of moving, of my body reacting badly to this Indiana summer.
I needed silence. Silence to feel what I needed to feel in a safe space. To discern the questions that I’m asking in this season of my life. To dream and laugh, but to do so from stillness.
I needed community. I’m realizing that as I continue to practice contemplative spirituality, it is not just a desire, but an actual need that I experience sacred silence with other people. My soul longs for this, and I would be unwise to block this cry.
I needed to listen more intentionally. I needed to block out other voices to listen to the voice that truly matters. I needed to see all the ways I yearn for control and external affirmation.
In living with a chronic illness, I feel more connected to the Divine in a community of silence and stillness. Why? I feel like my body is welcome to feel however it feels. My entire life with God can come to the forefront; my interior life with God matters.
To be honest, in my experience thus far, my female body in its illness, has been left outside the church. I come back to this reality often, as my old ways of doing faith have been stripped away.
Some questions I got to ask this weekend included:
- When does the church celebrate and esteem the weak Christ, except at the crucifixion?
- If a main call on my life is to live gratefully in a weak, vulnerable, limited body-how do I re-engage with the church calendar in a way that resonates with my experience?
- How do I want to address my experience of patriarchy and the unbalanced masculine?
- Right now, do I need more solitude or community?
- What are my deepest raw emotions surrounding the fact that I must choose a worshipping community somewhat based on the building it is in because of my mold sensitivity?
- What has come of all the things I’ve said no to? How has this made my spirituality more robust?
Maybe I will write more about these questions in the future. For now, I’m just grateful I had a full day of spacious time to ask these pressing questions. And to those of you reading, may you find time, in your own unique way, to ask your questions, even as they differ from the groups you are in.