Wednesday, August 03, 2005

the Anchorite

You may have wondered why there's been no new post for ages. It's just that there hasn't been anything to say.

My days pass with dreary uniform regularity; I wake up, I go to the computer to do online course work while I drink my coffee, I read some boring thing by some dead person who's usually German. I take a break to eat a late breakfast and then I read again. I take a break to snack instead of eat a proper lunch and then I read again. About 4:00, thanks be to God, I leave the apartment for the gym where I ellipticize for a half hour. Then I come back home, make dinner, and in all likelihood, read again.

This kind of routine makes one vulnerable to sloppy personal hygiene, frequent napping, and long conversations with the cat. It is, in fact, hardly distinguishable in some respects from clinical depression. (Perhaps my more psychologically knowledgeable friends will weigh in on this comparison.)

It makes me wonder what in the world people were thinking when they decided the best way to serve God was to huddle away in solitude. Or Thoreau, wanting to go "live deliberately" all by his lonesome. I don't even consider myself a real extrovert (officially I am right in the middle of I/E on Myers-Briggs, or at least, that was the case when I took it in college, 10 years ago), but this over-solitary existence is wearying. It makes me feel a little better to realize that Thoreau, the old fraud, was only 2 miles out of Concord, and Julian of Norwich (my latest mystic) was visited by all sorts of people seeking out her holy advice--most notably, Margery Kempe, who provides us with the majority of the information we have about Julian. Even Simeon the Stylite who decided to go live on top of a pillar in the desert drew an audience.

Which makes me just a bit skeptical about the whole thing. Perhaps the solitary existence bit was just a stunt, a ploy to get people's attention, a way of drawing a crowd instead of avoiding them. I don't really know. I'm not a historian and I am not an expert in mysticism and can't really say for sure. And if it was a stunt, well, I'm not sure that's necessarily bad. It at least sounds a lot healthier than a genuine desire to avoid all other human beings for years and years.

At least I have some things to look forward to on my calendar: a wedding on August 13 (already have the outfit picked out & brand-new shoes!), a trip to Texas, a trip to TN for my sister's wedding in December...hopefully I won't be so wacky from this anchorite existence that everyone thinks there's something wrong with me. Should I attempt to climb on top of a pillar, please, someone, take pity and haul me off to the nearest therapist.


priscilla said...

Hey Jen
Suggestion - Instead of leaving the apartment at 4pm, leave at 3pm, drop by our place for mayhem and chaos, then go to the gym for a break. I mean, we really aren't that far out of your way - you might even say we live on the way to the gym. No deviation required.

emily said...

i'm with priscilla. nothing shakes up quietude and monotony like mayhem and chaos. and when chaos comes in as cute a package as trinity, well... what excuse have you?

JTB said...

Brent wishes everyone to know that he also often makes dinner. We are an egalitarian household.

I feel quite chastened! So much for the woe-poor-pitiful-me post. You don't let me get away with anything!!! I repent me of my whining and henceforth declare my intent to never pass by thy door without greeting thee!

Anonymous said...

I just want to know what in the world is an anchorite? And yeah...I cast my vote that extreme solitude is probably a stunt. I always thought I would like it, but after having spent a month without work, in a new place, all alone everyday in the mountains...just going to Walmart was a treat! Go see Trinity!