Hello, my name is Caitlin. I’m addicted to being busy.
White space is lovely when it is in art or computer canvases. But in my life?
I just can’t deal.
My first impulse is to turn on my smartphone. Thumb through Twitter or scroll through Instagram. Pose a question on Facebook so people will laugh, respond, and reveal something about themselves. It’s easier for me to take a peek at what other people are doing in their lives than take a long hard look at the way I’m living mine.
Is that weird?
If so, let’s start a support group.
“You should give yourself the time to nest. The time to be. Just don’t go anywhere and reconnect with yourself.”
That’s the lump sum of what a friend told me in December. I was burned out and sniffling over doughnuts. Maybe it was SAD, maybe it was PMS, and maybe it was emotional constipation. Or all three, the perfect storm. Whatever it was, it wasn’t healthy. And somewhere between Pips and home, I knew I needed a change.
So I took her advice and became a hermit.
Often, I can sit in my car, drawing up business plans as I drive. Scheming about ways to take over the world. I can’t help it. Tim Ferriss is a hero.
I throw on beliefs like an overcoat as I slip out the door, not pausing to see if they really fit. As long as they coordinate with my surroundings, it’s easier not to question why I question. I throw around ideas gleaned from the headlines of Twitter, stoping to pose with people I barely know to impress those I haven’t met yet.
Maybe we really should start a support group.
It turns out that being a hermit as a Protestant just isn’t understood. It’s often considered plain ol’ anti-social. I think my Catholic friends get it best. Solitude and silence are spiritual disciplines.
To be honest, I thought about heading to a convent, just to be still in the silence. But my apartment was just as wonderful and just as secluded with my lack of internet. My leggings and t-shirts became my habit. Whispered prayers, my rosary. I built fires almost every night, drank red wine, and listened to records while I read my Bible and other books. I filled pages of my journal. Thoughts made manifest – flesh becoming words.
I let my calendar be blank. I shut up to live well. And in that stillness, questions came tumbling out of the wardrobe of my soul. I saw a handful of friends. My family. My love.
But most of all, I saw me.
And I was glad to be reacquainted.
New Years was rough this year. Two of my closest friends have confirmed it. Maybe we’re just all getting old. The world no longer felt bright and full of promise.
It felt tired. Sad. Broken.
Like it too needed a rest from all that had gone on. Did you feel it?
During that season, my love would slip his hand in mine, listening as I struggled to put into words the feelings that were welling from my soul. He’d patiently sit; pouring the wine, feeding the fire, offering his thoughts only when I asked. He just accepted me for who I am, loving me through it all. He often does that. He is steady, I am a dynamo. Together we are fire and ice. But this is not about him or me or the us that we are.
I told you he might slip into my stories.
As I write, the world is blanketed in night. In a few hours, the birds will come out to herald the morning. Spring is coming. It must. Winter is over.
It will soon be time to weed. To pull out by the roots the things that have taken up space on the calendar once again. To guard what happened.
Silence cannot last forever.
Words must be spoken. Ideas must take on flesh. Actions must be taken. Or else it’s all for naught. Margins are now part of my life.
Let us begin. Not with action. With rest.