Friday, August 24, 2007

Suffering of People in Transitional Phases

I have noticed that people who are into the near-retirement years, who perhaps cannot work or have lost jobs a bit earlier than they'd hoped, still want to be of use and have some contacts in the world, to be, in essence, validated. Or, it is a matter of needing some distraction from too much solitude, or what seems to be too much solitude.

My cousin, 59, is beginning her work today as a pre-school assistant in a lovely private school. She has worked there a decade or more, three mornings a week. The other days she has cared for her granddaughter who is now in school. On those two days, my cousin feels the aloneness with out her granddaughter and called me to say she understands a little how I exist, day in and day out in solitude.

My cousin has her relative health, though, and so does her husband. He lost his job unjustly, early, and has had trouble finding another job at age nearly 58. Of course, he has not gone the route of part-time work or work beneath his experiential level. He will need to lower the expectations, no doubt.

I recall an aunt who, very new age, said she planned to live to be 120 by sheer desire and determination, as she had wisdom to impart to younger people. Evidently God did not want her imparting her new age wisdom, for she died the youngest of her siblings at age 80, and this after a few years of dementia from too much drinking and possibly all those new age thoughts.

People in transitional phases suffer much, for it is difficult to accept and adapt.

I go through this periodically, such as now. With 23 years of chronic pain from that car accident, and some emotional pain from situations and circumstances, and from spiritual pain in that it is not easy being a religious solitary, as that seems to be where God has placed me in addition to the vocation of victim soul, I lack peace. Lacking peace and acceptance of one's circumstances can be very painful. I'm not sure how one does accept and adapt except through much prayer and by living out each day, one foot in front of the other, even if the footfalls are quite trudging.

In these times, I often go rather beserk and try to fly in the face of reality, maybe like the aunt who was determined to live to be 120. I have applied for a job in the diocese, and out of duty, perhaps, I have an interview. I don't really want to work with the person there, as I am very much different in outlook and spiritual dimension, but I keep thinking I need a little something to do, to keep myself occupied, to make myself get up and moving about more, and that perhaps the pain won't seem so severe or make me so ill. Also, I long to move through the pain enough so that it doesn't keep me imbalanced, as I feel quite imbalanced from time to time, even now. Pain can make a person feel insane, actually. I laughed as I told my cousin that I become horribly direct and truthful when the pain level rises. For example, her mother is incredibly vain and always has been; in such a state of high pain level, if not careful, I could simply say, "You are VAIN" when she makes ridiculous comments at age 84, that she wants to be sensitive to what she wears at a wedding for she doesn't want to overshadow the bride!

So, in some people's cases, the transition phase of getting older plops us back into our vices, and from there we exist in a muddle of self-deluded clarity and purpose.

I don't want to suffer in that state. But I awoke this morning in tears, once more, feeling ill from the pain, and wondering how to motivate out of it, begging Jesus to help me have some kind of purpose and to adapt to solitary life, to pray, to have some kind of peace. When I feel better, as I do tend to improve to lower pain levels or else higher means to cope, I have energy again and all seems brighter. But applying for a job at this phase is perhaps silly, under the circumstances of my body, of what I think are my dual vocations (victim soul and hermit). I wonder how others have managed with peace and joy. I think of Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich and how she would lie in bed and pray, and have peace, and have visions, and when not in visionary state would sew clothes for the poor children about her village.

She, too, needed purpose, and she found it in that form of "activity." I wonder if these saints had down times? If they had a limbo state in which they were inbetween worlds and not quite sure where they fit in, if anywhere?

Most others do not understand what it is like to suffer chronically. My adult children would like me to have a life, to do something, to be occupied. This morning I put away some of the marvelous out-of-print and rare books on the spiritual life, but I have not the energy to read, somehow, not now except maybe some pages here and there. I noticed a book that I struggled to recall if I'd read it, and indeed I had by some distant cognizance.

No, it is not looking good to work full time at the office of spiritual development, whether I would fit in or not! I'd better just take out the bag of trash, read some Psalms, and take a hot soak bath until time to go to Mass. Pray for all those who are able to work and have the delight of distraction and be grateful I have a roof over my head.


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