Notes from Manresa, prt. 4

5:35 pm.  Managed to finally sleep for 30 minutes.  Time to go to dinner.

6:32 pm.  Dinner was fantastic.  Tilapia fillets, beer bread, broccoli & cauliflower, pasta shells w/ sauce, coffee, cookies.  Sat in a much bigger room, at a much smaller table.  Alone most of the time, but last ten minutes sat directly across from a perfect stranger and said not a word.  Ten minutes is the most I can stand right now.  I never knew there is an art to living with others in silence.

7:16 pm.  Prayer and meditation for 30 minutes.  Set timer for 45, but I just don’t think I’m capable of that right now.  Finding that my attention is starting to drift and all I want to do is set this aside and watch some mindless TV.  I cannot stop thinking about my family.  Knowing I can’t call them is extremely stressful.  I find myself again just wanting to go home.  I want to talk to Steve and ask if it is normal to feel this way, what it means, and if I just continue w/ it or at some point find it so distracting that I should just call them.  I feel like I’m not that guy that intentionally goes someplace where I cannot call home.  Should I be?

8 pm.  Suddenly this passage in Is. 43 takes on new meaning.  As I feel myself sinking into depression, alone, bored, missing my family, I read again about God’s love for me.  And isn’t it in this place that I need to know that?  Isn’t it in the darkness that I need to remember about the light?  Isn’t that what I have come here for?  Even here – even now – I belong fully to  God.  Even in my discouragement and frustration.

When you’re in over your head, I’ll be with you.

That is now.  You are here now.  You love me now, and call to me now.  You tell me now not to fear.

Saturday, – 2:21 pm.
The evening finished well last night. I listened to Ashton/Becker/Dente and went for a walk.  Sat for a while in the chapel, then meditated for another 20 minutes.  Grabbed a candy bar from the commissary and headed back to my room.  Went to bed.  Woke up and went to breakfast, then meditated and prayed before coming back to my room and sleeping another hour.  Then up, in the shower, and off to lunch. After lunch, read Manning for a while, then met with Fr. Tom.

6:35 pm.  Perhaps nothing demonstrates how much better today is than yesterday more than the infrequency of journal entries today compared to yesterday.  Chicken a la’ orange to tonight. I find myself physically hungrier here than I ever am in the world outside, I think because the intensity of the prayer work here (and the aloneness) takes a toll physically.  Today I ate two lunches, but still had to get a snack before dinner.  Then I ate two dinners, then went to the commissary to buy candy, expecting to be hungry again before bed.

Mass is tomorrow.  Not sure yet if I will go.

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  • Dave, I feel privileged that you are sharing this personal journey with us..thank you..

    • I’m a teacher in the core of my being and if there are experiences in my own life that might help others, I’m usually willing to share them. Posting these notes is also helping me review my time at Manresa and think on it more deeply. Thanks for reading.