A Little Monastery, Monasticism

Death in the Little Monastery

Last week we lost our pet hamster, Everest.  She was our youngest daughter’s friend, and she’s passed on to the big hamster wheel in the sky, so to speak.

We found her dead in her cage while our daughter Miss Bouncy was finishing up with bath time, so I made a coffin out of half of a toothpaste box, filled it with pretty gift tissue paper, and wrapped it with white paper.  After bath-time Miss Bouncy came out and we had to explain to her that Everest had died and that she needed to say her goodbye.  So, she drew a nice picture of her and Everest on the coffin, and the other children wrote their names on the base of it, and we let her hold Everest’s body for a little while and then placed Everest in her resting place and closed the lid.  Miss Bouncy didn’t want to bury her just yet, so we let her sleep with Everest next to her bed and then buried her the next day next to our Japanese Maple tree, at the Easter edge of our property.  Everyone agreed it was a good spot.  So, I said a couple of words, Miss Bouncy said a couple of words, and then we placed Everest in the hole and covered her up and that was that.

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Patron Ragamuffins

Rich Mullins, d. September 19th, 1997

Rich-Mullins-scars

Today is the 20th anniversary of Rich Mullins untimely death.  I never got to see Rich perform, but I’ve listened to enough of his music and read enough of his writings to feel like I knew him, at least a little bit.

To this day I struggle with the darkness, I struggle to find peace.  I don’t know how to think about the idea of God loving me.  I don’t know what that experience looks like.  But in Rich I have someone who did, so I try to learn from him as I learn what God’s love is.

There’s a wideness in God’s mercy
I cannot find in my own
And He keeps His fire burning
To melt this heart of stone
Keeps me aching with a yearning
Keeps me glad to have been caught
In the reckless raging fury
That they call the love of God

He is one of my Patron Ragamuffins, and he is sorely missed.

Mental Health

My Mind, My Friend, My Enemy

I’ve always been an intelligent person.  Growing up I always noticed the patterns of things, in shapes and forms, and later in ideas and concepts.  Though homeschooled, I did well and ended up making a high of 1350 on the SAT, 31 on the ACT and then gained a final GPA of 3.69 earning my Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington.  I’ve never not had an agile and competent mind.

my mind always been a source of pride for me

In fact, as might be readily apparent, my mind always been a source of pride for me.  I have always lived in my mind, and I, as do many intelligent introverts, prefer the company of my inner demons and angels than the company of similar beings around and external to me.

I’ve relied on my mind in my career and in my hobbies and in my relationships, utilizing it to make friends and succeed and enjoy the small nuances of life.

But then, about 5 years ago, agitated by a very painful experience leaving the church I grew up in, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder reared it’s tenacious head and what was my favorite gift became my special curse.  My mind – my friend – became my enemy.

Where once I could listen to the internal dialogue with pleasure, now that dialogue became a flood, a torrent of anxiety-inducing madness.  Where once the waters of my mind were fairly tranquil and fair, now I drowned in a shit storm, choked by anxieties and compulsions, depressions and inanities.

Such is the life of someone with OCD.  I do not expect to be healed of it.

Now, 5 years removed, two of which have been spent in therapy and on medication, my mind has become my frenemy: neither/both friend nor enemy, that weird uncle that you have to be related to, but which you really don’t want to be seen with.  It’s a humbling existence: having to rely on something that might very well decide to betray you at the drop of the proverbial hat.  You never know when your day will be roses or thorns (often its both).  Clarity-of-mind and the mind-fog have become close bosom-buddies, and both like to fuck with you and your fears.

Such is the life of someone with OCD.  I do not expect to be healed of it.  In some ways, these days, I don’t know that I want to.  I just want to learn how to live with it.  To exist with it.

Because maybe that weird uncle is me.

(featured image source)

Uncategorized

Autumn

The Wandering Gael

She comes in whispers, glimmers dancing softly
on the waltzing breeze in scented hues that
sing a gleaming melody in crimson
waves upon the floating arbor seas.
Behind her train the vespers evensong
of birds is raised and fades within the shrinking light
that glows in soft and tender swells along
the edge of night. The warmth of summer seeps
beyond the reach of live, invigorating
airs. The chill of sorrow’s hope lies weeping
on the dying lands; hopes to germinate,
to sprout in meditative, waking sleep
beneath the winter’s lovely, frozen curse
that falls upon the sphere of terra’s browning hearse.

(featured image source)

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