On Solitude, Self-Care and Seacoasts…….
Yesterday, I posted a little about Joan Anderson’s book “A Weekend to Remember”. In it, she writes about the weekend retreats that she has been hosting for women who are looking to find the lost parts of themselves.
She tells about various exercises that she leads the women through on retreat. One of those exercises really struck me, as I was reading it by the pool, on a weekend away last Saturday. Joan asks the women to sit quietly and think about the past year of their lives……They are to sit with a pen and paper and write down every memory from the past year that filled them with joy. She actually suggests that they use a calendar for this- to help jog their memories.
As I floated in solitude around the pool, I thought about the exercise. With the exception of these past few months after selling our family home and spending a few weekends away, I could think of very, very little from the past year that brought me joy……..
Preparing for a huge estate sale (two months of grueling, overwhelming sifting-even with great help)- definitely not joyful. Two extended, terrifying vigils with my demented Mother in the hospital (one of them over Christmas week)- definitely not joyful. Preparing for a visit to Probate Court to fight for conservatorship of my Mother’s estate- SO not joyful. Fighting state agencies to remove a lien on my Mother’s estate so said property could be sold….Then MONTHS clearing out that property and emptying the contents of my entire family history……..and interspersed throughout- visits to the nursing home every other day to watch my beloved Mom fade way. I could go on and on for another three pages- but frankly, there is enough misery in the world- and I don’t need to bore you with mine.
The only joyful moments I could muster up from this whole past year were some times in my classroom with my beloved students and the beautiful occurrence of finding a new church home- after years of searching for one. A few, very limited lunches and coffee dates with friends. That was it. There was not very much. Not very much at all.
The point is….as I sat in the pool floating, it really and TRULY hit me- the past year of my life has been utterly exhausting and, for the most part, very devoid of joy. I knew that already- but not to the degree that I knew it that afternoon in the pool last Saturday……THAT is why all I want to do is rest and read and sit in silence. THAT is why I am craving solitude like AIR. THAT is why I need a season of extreme self-care to try to put Humpty Dumpty back together again…..THAT is why my therapist has actually prescribed as much extreme self-care as I need until I am feeling strong again.
This is a season for me. I am going to write. And read. And learn from others who have followed a similar path. Books are coming my way on this like crazy. Bloggers whom I follow are writing about it too. Healing. Rest. Solitude. SABBATH.
There is a season for everything……
And a time to every purpose under heaven…….
For now, I am going to sit and listen and follow God’s directions. I can’t really do anything else anyway. My body completely rebels if I try to hurry, rush or overload myself. I actually shut down. I get a migraine. Or a panic attack. So, I sit, and listen to the birds and the waves…..and I rest. And I wait……
And meditate on one of my favorite Psalms….
“I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.”(Psalm 27)